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Report - Exploding manholes in Victoria Park

Discussion in 'UK Draining Forum' started by loops, Jun 28, 2009.

  1. loops

    loops AgBr→Ag+½Br2
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    Friends were having a barbecue/cricket match/reggae soundsystem mashup in Victoria Park this afternoon and got caught in a humongous storm - thunder, lightning, rain, hail, cats, real biblical-type deluge. During, they reported hearing a fwooooooomzzzzzneaoowwww-BANG sound followed by a 50ft geyser appearing from nowhere... postdiluvian investigations revealed a 4ft square manhole cover had been chucked 20ft away. A curved concrete wall with water was visible. No ladder. I like how the cover appears to have hit the ground then bounced and plowed to a halt... I think it's fair to say that if you'd been standing there, it would have severely cramped your style.

    [​IMG]

    Clearly the sort of thing that should be reported to the relevant authorities and given a wide berth.

    So I run home for ropes and whatnot, thankfully all packed and ready to go after an aborted mission earlier in the week (we killed Michael Jackson en route, sorry about that...). After various drunk people shouting and nearly falling in and whatever, I rigged off the handily provided Big Green Vent, backed up off a tree and threw myself down the hole. Err, cautiously began my descent into the unknown.

    [​IMG]

    Actually, as soon as I was clear of the shaft it was pretty clear that it was one of the newer stormwater storage cans as seen off the Westbourne and Rubix, about 20ft across, with a ladder and concrete balconies down one side. The water was just below the first balcony, so I've no idea how deep the chamber went, or what was at the bottom. The acoustics were pretty fun. Really hard to talk to people on the surface with all the echoes. There was a little concrete ledge running around the edge, but try as I might I couldn't walk along it without falling off. The ladder led up to another similar manhole.

    Being retarded, I had no memory card for stills in my camera but here's a bit of awful Super Night Shot(tm) unedited video:

    [​IMG]

    Ascended and chimneyed out to find everyone had fucked off. We tried to shift the cover but with two of us it just wasn't moveable at all, even with mad Aussie-style lifting techniques. We built a little tent of saplings and gaffer tape over the hole and had a word with the park warden on the way out. Thames Water not in the best of my books after the same storm left half my house under two inches of really unpleasant water, but whatever - fix yr shit, guys and girls!

    I still smell of drains... the good kind, soil and earthy goodness and damp, not the other kind, but even so - bathtiiiiiiime...

    Maybe next time the hole will lead somewhere more interesting...
     

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  2. siologen

    siologen I Go Where The Drains Are
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    Hmm. Loops has always had a gas meter with him, that ive seen, every time he goes anywhere underground. Thing does all 5 of the most commonly encountered noxious gasses. Cost about 350 quid as far as i remember hearing.

    As it goes... in 10 years down drains n sewers, all over the world, ive only heard a gas meter go off once n even then it was only a preliminary warning signal.

    These arent caves and would you believe it, they are generally safer than caves when it comes to noxious gasses.

    So chillllaxxxx :D
     
    #2 siologen, Jun 29, 2009
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2009
  3. siologen

    siologen I Go Where The Drains Are
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    This footage is of the Frozen Geyser Drain in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Beneath the cover is a shaft where two large pipes converge into one larger pipe. The confluence created incredible backpressure. MSP drains are notorious for this sort of bad behaviour, as they all operate a high/low level system where flow is dropped down shafts to reach the river from the suburbs above. The dropshafts cause water to bottleneck.

    The bouncing lid shot posted by Yaz isnt of me, i was standing off to the side waiting my turn, while rubbing my hands together with glee :D. It was in Edmonton, a Canadian city whose drains have similar hydraulic problems as those in MSP. In this case however, it was blasts of air created by the water hurtling by beneath, that caused the relatively lightweight cover to dance.

    There was another cover barely 10m away that was in a flowerbed, covered with soil n flowers. It made the flowers dance as it was pummelled from beneath.
     
  4. loops

    loops AgBr→Ag+½Br2
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    Hey, relax!

    As I always do when I'm underground, I had a 4-gas meter hung off my harness.

    I'd rigged the rope at the midpoint so there was a spare drop ready to go right next to the entrance.

    I had an etrier attached to my line which reached down to the end of the shaft.

    There were two experienced climbers on the surface watching me with enough bits to build a hauling system.

    The chamber had been ventilated via the manhole and the chimney-type vent for two hours before I entered.

    It looked and smelled like surface water, not sewage.

    You're quite right to be concerned, but I'm confident that I wasn't risking my life any more than I do riding to work.
     
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