Report - - Fat of The Land, Bradford 2011-2014. | Noteworthy Reports | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Fat of The Land, Bradford 2011-2014.


Staff member
Fat of The Land, Bradford 2011-2014.

(City of Bradford-Shipley Western & Eastern Sewage Systems)


Shyter Pilots

Myself and Squiz have been covered in poo for the last 3 years (on and off) with this lot

Some say he's retired, turns out he's a massive drain weapon :)

It's been a labour of love, complete with many frustrating fails & dead ends along the way

Not to mention adverse weather and a couple of close calls where we've had to abort and promptly GTFO

The system just kept giving which prompted more reccies, lid lifting and traipsing through scrub land and sewage alike in order to find moar stuff

In fact it's took us that long, Squiz has managed to go through 4 cars and 3 houses, true story!

Sadly the day's of driving around Bradford popping lids in the trusty Micra will never be the same again, proper wagon that was (RIP)

The flood alleviation effort that is Bypass & Macro has had many visitors over the years



^ (pic props to Thompski & Nickindroy)

Above is "Bypass" a diversion tunnel constructed in the early 1990's as part of the Bradford Beck Flood Alleviation Scheme,
designed to allow storm flows to bypass the City centre and prevent flooding for a 1 in 50 annual probability event

Sure it's impressive but this next lot is in a different league..

Massive shouts to Squirrell 911 for some of the funniest on-top shit we have encountered - Pikey Horses/Chickens, Bag Heads, Security & Police to name but a few

Pic Heavy is an understatement with this one and I make no apologies whatsoever, simply enjoy or look away now :coat

The basic framework of brick sewers were constructed between 1862 and 1885 to combat the serious public health problems associated with the rapid development of the City

The sewer system follows the natural topography of the Bradford Basin into the City centre and then heads North

Two 3km long trunk sewers drain the Eastern and Western Drainage Areas which run parallel to the Bradford Beck

These trunk sewers terminated at Frizinghall Sewage Treatment Works until 1926, when flows were diverted to the new Esholt STW to the North East of Bradford via the Esholt Tunnel Sewer

Sewers vary in size from small brick invert sewers (450mm) to well over 3m in width and 10ft high along the Eastern and Western Trunk Sewers and the Esholt Tunnel Sewer

Continuing rapid development resulted in Bradford's sewer system becoming inadequate to deal with the rising population

A total of 94 CSO's were constructed in Bradford to prevent sewage flooding due to the lack of capacity of the system from 1870 onwards

The majority of these overflows discharge into the Bradford Beck and its tributaries

Apparently they have been reduced to 15 since 2004, however I have photographic evidence to suggest otherwise ;)

The majority of the CSO's comprise low level single side weirs and operate more than 200 times per year

It is estimated that more than 6 million cubic metres of untreated sewage overflow into the Bradford Beck for over 400 hours every year

In fact the annual volume of CSO spills is nearly 50% of Bradford's total annual rainfall and that 80-90% of the peak originates from the sewer system during a 2 year return period rainfall event

In total there is over 30,000m³ of storage capacity within the catchment area of the Bradford Beck

Bradford is densely urbanised and its steep topography combined with large areas of impermeable surfaces result in rapid surface water run-off

The sewer system is predominantly combined, draining both foul and surface water

Which during heavy rainfall regularly exceeds the capacity of the sewer system so is susceptible to flooding

To give you an idea here is a 1:20,000 scale map of the sewers


Given the size of the prize, we've had to chip away it it over a few years, with work, family, adverse weather and other such commitments getting in the way

(We do have lives you know) :p:

Some sections have been frustrating to say the least with access in the middle of live sites/busy carriageways so the story goes..

Still we had done enough walking about above ground and staring at google maps


Out of everything I've ever done, sewer exploration wins hands down, walking through the unknown and turning up new shit certainly alleviates the daily rat race

Of course it has it's advantages, covered in p00p also helps with ones immune system ya know :thumb

..Time to pop some lids innit


Western Sewage

By far the largest of the two systems, with more traversable sections than the Eastern sector

The first thing people will be able to relate to here is the business end of Pandora



Around 350m further West is a massive drop shaft, up top is a huge turd vortex which serves the upstream section of sewer

We climbed up (It was the last time I went into a sewer without gloves)

The entire shaft/ladders/railings etc. were covered in shyte, it wasn't pleasant but the view from the top was worth it

I struggled to grab this shot as p00p oozed between my fingers whilst fiddling with the shutter release, also it was misty as hell and impossible to steady the tripod


Almost 2 years on and we managed to venture back

Not keen on doing the long slog back up the un-predictable trunk and epic ladder climb,
we set up barricades and I shot back down for a few more snaps as the previous ones had somehow gone a miss..

We took the opportunity to view the incoming sewer which feeds the vortex; one has to descend a smaller chamber the other side and slightly upstream for a look in


The upstream sewer inverts via a 4ft RCP and small weir into a sump, it was fairly deep as we soon found out *cough* ^ :D


It also acts as a detention tank during capacity; to one side is a 3ft egg overflow


And here the sewer as it feeds the vortex, which is literally 10ft further down


Back to the vortex itself for a closer look, as it sits roughly 50/50 within a 30m dropshaft

Some rancid ladders caked in all manner of shyte lead to the bottom, here you can see the fresh as it exits the cast iron pipe into a sea of arse soup

(Note the bricked up construction shaft, where possibly the TBM entered ?)


And finally the bottom of the drop shaft, where the sewer continues down a sizeable 10ft pipe and from where we first entered 2 years prior


Heading North East (approx 460m) we followed the sewer d/s as it passes underneath the all too familar 'Pandora's Arsehole' come screened overflow chamber


On this particular re-visit it was lit up like an Xmas tree from above, we were half expecting to come face to face with the lads from YW

Instead we came face to face with a wall of :turd as the sewer drained through a 1ft slot

Or as Squiz explained "2 fish swim into a wall, dam" :D


Of course we had been here before and knew only too well what to expect, the previous pics were fairly gash and we were somewhat lucky on our return

Some manky step irons led to a sizeable chamber; sitting high above the sewer a central walkway, home to 2 Penstocks


The other side of the Penstock, the sewer continues downstream



You can't traverse the line downstream from here so it was back to the drawing board..


Staff member

On follow up visits, we poked about endlessly for a look-in upstream of the sewer that feeds the vortex, searching for suitable lids often proved a thankless task

Needless to say it wasn't happening and Google maps were about as much use as a pork pie at a Jewish wedding at this point

So we swapped waders for Hush Puppies and wasted at least a 3 further nights on this one!

In the most unlikeliest of places we found a way in

And afterwards, to make things more interesting I managed to misplace my torch, having left 2 years of kit in Squiz's car already

It probably came as no surprise as he had to negotiate that palisade fence the following day with a load of pikey chickens running around :D

The chamber we dropped in serves the West Brook and two CSO's

u/s of the vortex



Here it joins the West Brook; the chamber doubles as a storm overflow


Further up, Squiz models another smaller CSO connection with the West Brook running through


And finally looking back downstream


..And for the tourists :p Pandora's Box (the West Brook eventually outfalls into the Beck via the 'slot' much further downstream


Months later we were back on it..

The dark nights were drawing in and the weather was on our side, so we returned after a bit more research to see what lay beyond the Penstocks

Wadering up at our lid of choice we were greeted by a bunch of bag heads peddling pikey'd Toblerones (only in Bradford) Eh..

Luckily Squiz had a few quid and we walked away with at least 12 huge bars for a 10 spot :thumb


Here a side entry leads into an age old brick sewer constructed circa 1885


Heading upstream and a continuation from beyond the Penstock chamber as shown further above ^^


The sewer continues downstream via a 4ft brick egg


A brief glimpse can be grabbed from an inspection chamber further d/s of the 4ft (non-traversable) egg as it carries on winding beneath the City

The pipe diameter does increase in size as it passes underneath the City centre, but all lids are traffic sensitive and would involve closure of a couple of major carriageways :banghead


In fact, the next we see of it is where it exits this 8ft RBP the other side of the City

(More of this later)




Staff member

Now then, the next significant stretch of sewer we uncovered was the upper reaches of the Western outfall sewer..

Conveniently we originally dropped into this remote controlled penstock chamber in the middle of a live site with no easy way upstream/downstream :rolleyes:

Again this one was a right ball ache initially but we soon secured a couple of 'safer' lids


Heading Upstream



Eventually a significant junction, not to mention the noise!


On the right another trunk run-off, the slippery RCP runs for around 100m


Here another large drop shaft which we called Letter Box

We actually found this by lifting the most ridiculous over sized/seized lid in a secure fenced off area whilst looking for something else

The chamber was filled with a dense mist of p00p particles, I managed to grab this one shot as the sewer exits from the huge slot at the bottom of the shaft


Referring back to the main junction pic from above ^^^ the connection on the left is from another trunk that connects at this point via another dropshaft/vortex

We found the lid on yet another follow up trip, and almost kicked ourselves we had missed this feature the previous year!

This section is easier to explain in the order in which we discovered it..

Looking down from the top of the chamber, the smaller sewer runs right to left from a 5ft RCP


It then drops down this tumbling bay and winds around to the top of the vortex/dropshaft via this concrete curler


You can't access the main junction from here, so it's another lid and another set of shitty ladders to see the other side

(Shot taken on inspection gantry, mid main chamber)


And here the bottom of the turd vortex as it discharges it's load into the Western outfall sewer

If only Dulux had a pantone chart for p00 :rolleyes:


Carrying on straight ahead, it's a good 250m before any real feature change, so Squiz plays ball with some fanny plasters to ease the boredom :D


Much further along, a side entry inspection shaft


u/s another sewer connects, some :crazy arse vapours going on here so we didn't hang about!


Another 80m and the levels started to rise as another trunk outfalls via a tumbling bay and a further storm overflow/inspection piece connects on the right


We trudged a considerable distance through the fresh which got progressively deeper with some serious volume!

It was that loud we had to shout to hear ourselves above the racket this thundering torrent of shyte was now making

Ahead our torch light gave us a fleeting glimpse of what appeared to be a massive drop shaft

Trying to fathom what was going on here amongst the steamy p00p particles initially proved impossible

A fair bit of climbing up various levels with the mankiest ladders known to man and we were at the top for a better look

I shone my torch down to discover a huge twin vortex :thumb

Like nothing we'd seen previously, it was fairly epic but equally as rank, air quality was poor

Squiz only managed this one hand-held pic before the humidity caused my trusty old Olympus to throw it's hand in :banghead


If it's one thing I'm a good at, it's destroying cameras in sewers :D

We packed up and spent some time debating our exit, as we didn't fancy the long walk back through the fast flowing turds, not to mention them grim ladders again!

The seized Dreadnought wouldn't budge from below, however props to Squiz for shifting it, clearly no match for brute force and our patented lid buster ;)

We returned twice after that, almost a year apart to obtain better pics, here are a few from those visits...



"It's just a big concrete cock & balls"



Down at the bottom, the shaft is split into two, here the vortices dump their loads into a smaller channel which in turn outfalls via a slotted sump

It also serves as an in-line detention tank during capacity


As you can see from the filth (poo) we are covered head to toe in, this isn't somewhere you would want to spend your weekends rolling about in :rolleyes:


Time to GTFO




Staff member

Obviously it took us a good while fathoming all that lot out and to be honest I wasn't sure if we would turn anything else as sizeable up

The natural progression here was to attempt to enter upstream of the twin vortex

Numerous trips searching for lids and trying to gain a suitable look-in proved more difficult than I imagined in the end

As we went to hold each others dicks having a piss in the shrubbery one afternoon, we spotted another lid in the distance, fuck me if only it was that easy all of the time haha

"Now then, what do we have here"..


Well it's upstream of the vortex, but sadly this 3ft RCP was taking us nowhere :banghead


On a roll or so we thought we decided to have another 10 mins before we bailed

The sewer passes in close proximity to the Beck here and it's fairly overgrown, so trying to spot a lid was no easy task


This lid dropped us into a smaller chamber which serves a 3-way junction; A smaller sewer connects on the right via a 4ft RCP and the trunk enters/exits via barely a 5ft RCP


Squiz decides on a closer inspection, but we concluded we weren't stooping down that 5ft'er!


Out we came and slammed the lid shut, time to go home and stare at Google once again

We later returned to an area we expected lids would be located, after lifting a fair few and sending Squiz down for a closer look, we were no nearer


In fact it was to be the following year before we returned with some trusty props
and the motivation to budge the heavy slab placed on top of the only likely manhole making a racket

Which incidently I stumbled upon whilst looking for a suitable place to take a dump so the story goes, the sound of fresh in the bushes was like music to my ears

The shaft was a tight fit, it was a good 5m down and most of the step irons had crumbled away,
so we rigged Squiz's home-made rope ladder as a backup and I shot down with the meter for a closer look


It was a smelly affair and quite confined at the bottom, making photatoes somewhat awkward


We finally found our target, except it was far to small to traverse, even by boat!

That was as far as we were going upstream


We next decided to concentrate our efforts on the downstream section of the trunk

We knew there were some sizeable CSO's along the way having already looked into one of them

Again we entered back into familiar territory


Further downstream this huge non-screened CSO/Detention Tank

(Not sure what's going on with my leg in that pic like) :D


It was a right faff climbing over the shyte infested overflow weir, as we never did manage to locate a suitable lid..


A huge 'L' shaped overflow tunnel from the CSO carries any discharge to the all too familiar grille which dumps it's load into the Beck at capacity

Myself and Thompski having enjoyed a picnic the other side of here a number of summers back


We jumped back over and made our way downstream.. eventually you hit the Penstock chamber as illustrated further up in the thread

You need to be Stretch Armstrong to contort through into this bit :D


As you can see the sewer exits via a 5ft RCP, it's fast flowing and very slippery


Eventually it exits here via this 8ft RCP


Next it heads d/s through a large screened CSO, and exits via a 2ft slot, which marked the end of the journey on this stretch sadly :(


The next we see of it as it heads down Thornton Road on it's penultimate trip to the shitworks

Sadly we were unable to traverse this section due to pipe diameter/flow issues

Also there was no viable access as further lids are traffic sensitive night and day located on a busy stretch of carriageway :banghead

We did manage to pop this lid at the side of the road abit further d/s


..and the non-traversable section of sewer looking d/s (already illustrated further back)




Staff member

Much further downstream we pick-up the Western outfall sewer at the last traversable section before it heads down to Esholt

This CSO/Detention system serves the Western interceptor sewer and is quite possibly one of the biggest combined sewer overflows I have seen to date

The traversable section of sewer here is over 400m end to end with a couple of chambers including a remote controlled Penstock

A good 70% of the space serves as an in-line storm tank including a non screened CSO to relieve the sewer upstream of the WwTW

We originally decided to leave this one until last..

Having already scoured the rough area for 'safe' lids there appeared to be none anywhere you would expect them to be, despite 2 or 3 frustrating recces

We always knew there was access in the streets, and hence the main reason we stuck it on a back burner

One bright day in the middle of the night, we were out to continue another piece we have been working on when we decided to chance a lid

No sooner had Squiz0r unfolded the barriers and I was down


We named it Dropbox due to the ridiculous amount of :turd thundering down a 3ft weir and into a hooj arse sewer/storm detention/CSO



Eventually it widens ahead of the main storm overflow


Somewhere in-between the u/s .. d/s limit is this in-line detention/overflow tank which serves the sewer at capacity


Beyond the weir, a split overflow eventually outfalls into the Beck via 2 6ft RCP's


Here I found a Squirrell licking one of the two grilled outfalls


Beyond the shyte, a stretch of the Bradford Beck which is no doubt the filthiest stretch of watercourse that exists in this country!


This place hadn't finished giving..

Downstream of the CSO, the trunk widens to around 4m


Beyond which is a large Penstock chamber



It's not possible to follow the sewer from here


However, we managed to locate another seized lid which required some serious effort to access the section of sewer beyond..


A watercourse connects from the side pipe and joins the sewer at this point


We knew at this point it was highly unlikely we were ever going to walk down the trunk again

Considering what we had achieved I wasn't too fussed, just I wanted to see some of the older brick stuff before it hit the shit works more than anything

I'd previously spotted a lid that needed closer attention, except it was never normally possible, one evening luck was on our side and thankfully we managed a look in

It's actually one of the oldest existing CSO's on the system which was also a bonus :thumb



The line it now takes has no opportunities for a continuation on foot, so we decided to head further downstream of the Beck where I'd previously visited another CSO

Here a small bunker room, complete with a deadly pit of arse soup which forms part of a combined overflow


Any discharge from the nearby sewer system collects in a small holding tank equipped with duty/standby launder pumps located within the sump

The primary overflow is behind the slotted wall, when at capacity it sumps through into the secondary overflow and spills out into the Bradford Beck via 2 large diameter brick pipes



On a return trip, we popped out of the lid to see if we could fathom access beyond the collection tank to the downstream section of sewer

Having scoured the land we turned up nothing useful other than a foul connection, which appeared blocked/backed up and no route through

I wasn't going to give up just yet, so continued on with other bits of the system for the time being whilst I had chance to study the area further

>> Fast forward 18 months and I was determined to find a way beyond that bunker room set-up to the sewer beyond

It's the only real stretch left before it crosses the road further down and merges with the Eastern interceptor ahead of the Esholt Tunnel Sewer

We returned late one night, this time with Nick in tow (Credits for pics & video 'borrowed')

"Sorry about that" explains Squiz as we march through the Vindaloo once again :D


My big idea, and seemed legit at the time, was to "survey" the chamber further, by sticking the GoPro through the slot with some kit Squiz bodged together earlier that evening


I live monitored it on my phone whilst we took it in turns operating camera and lighting between us,
whilst precariously balanced on some shonky rails with a sump of deadly arse soup below

Nick had the right idea, he stayed the other side and pissed himself laughing whilst we dicked about trying to obtain some pics and a view of what lay beyond


The video was fairly conclusive.. Not a fucking hope!

Behind the slotted wall is another smaller chamber, which looks just as deep as the one we were in,

You can just about make out the submerged arch in the only decent pic I managed to grab below


In the end I just couldn't let this one lie after numerous visits and leaving empty handed, and so had to see what other options presented themselves

A daytime visit was now the only option given any lids that could possibly drop us in would certainly bring unwanted attention during the twilight hours

Lid No.1 wouldn't budge, and with hindsight was only a plant lid and rope access would have been too much effort for little gain

We looked that long for another lid further down that the Skoda rep started circling and I thought Squiz was gonna drive away with car No.5 :D

On the way back to the car as we'd given up, Squiz spotted a lid, we whipped out the keys and off it came, sadly the flow was treacherous and the step irons broken!

Back to the car and I decided we drive into another compound for a look at an area we had not been able to access at night, just where we expected, an older looking split lid

So under the watchful eye of some bored secratary I shot down to grab a pic as this literally was/is the only place you can before it merges with the Eastern interceptor

Squiz keeping lookout


Western Interceptor


^ I only grabbed the one pic as there wasn't much to see, and no way I was attempting to to step foot in that!

Instead I had a moment, mesmerized by the turds and the brown flecked paper passing by before heading out and Squiz slamming the lid shut..


There is one final stretch before both West/East outfall sewers hit the Esholt Tunnel Sewer, we know this as we popped a lid in the pissing rain one night a couple of years back...

Myself and Squirrell had previously attempted to access this system once before with no luck

One lid wouldn't budge the only one we did manage to find had the most ridiculous flow I have ever seen and was a definate no go :eek:

The nearest we got that night was Squirrell sending down a wind-up shark instead :D

Having returned the following summer we soon realised there was no way of sharing the space with the rapid flowing nuggets, shame really as it looked fairly decent

SO.. I raided Squiz's toy box and we managed to re-create that particular winter evening as best we could



"Long Live Cyril the Shark"



Staff member

Eastern Sewage

Probably the most frustrating thing with this project was getting a proper look in on the Eastern interceptor sewer

Much of the Eastern trunk runs under busy carriageways & commercial premises

And where we did find entry it wasn't possible to traverse due to either flow or pipe size restrictions :banghead

We'd spent countless days/nights searching for and popping lids in search of the good stuff often to no avail

Squiz loves to beat a bit of bush


Bit of a Ball ache this one


Many trips out resulted in a right bag of fail over the years, in more ways than one, but this is URBEX right ?

I've lost count of how many manhole shafts we inspected and failed at finding anything useful also (..Err that sounds so wrong).. Drain speak innit :p


Props to Squiz0r for being chief lid lifter, at this point we had improvised that much kit, there wasn't a lid between us we couldn't budge!

Having already failed at some central bit's we decided to spread out and look for some stuff upstream

We spotted some lids in the ghetto which warranted a closer look, on the night in question we disturbed Pakistan vs the West Indies above ground, sorry about that lads

Squiz named this Jewellery Box having salvaged some Asian bling from the sewer and took it home for the Mrs :D

Speaking of which, shortly after boii got married and drains went out the window for another 6 months..

Here a lid dropped us into a large powered screen in the form of a giant Archimedes screw upstream of the Eastern trunk


The other side, a 5ft pipe heads upstream and appears to go on & on without any feature change, downstream was barely 3ft


I remembered a couple of smaller side pipes that dropped into 'Macro' when I first explored it back in the day

However we didn't bother with them all those years back

A much needed Mc Shit whilst in the area one night jogged my memory whilst I was sat curling one out


I had an approximate idea of the direction they took, but all told it took a fair few trips walking about above ground before we got a sniff in..

The first one was easy as the lid was situated roughly 30m from the culverted section and approx 150m from the very toilet I sat on that night

Not an easy one for access as we had to barricade the middle of a busy cut through to see this one


Once down, yet another powered screen with the sewer too small to navigate - I see a pattern emerging here with this pesky Eastern trunk :(


With little time to spare on this one, I only grabbed a couple of pics before bailing

The other CSO leading from the side pipe, although not too far away below ground as I remembered it looking at old pics, was a right pain to locate in the end

It was nowhere near where we expected it, and we only managed to stumble on it one night whilst poking about some derpy swimming baths come crack den as you do

All the lids we lifted were ladder-less and were purely plant access to maintain the machinery below

We were about to give up literally, until I went for a piss and spotted a partially covered lid in the scrub-land

Down below, another powered screen with the sewer running behind


I poked my head over to reveal the incoming sewer entering via a modest 6ft RCP

Naturally I went over for a closer look, with the intention of heading upstream


I managed 50ft more than previous outing, only to be thwarted by a drop shaft funnelling :turd from above so no way on from here ffs!

Grabbing pics was effort whilst I was being showered with a fine mist of p00p, my camera threw it's hand in again and so I retreated

Drop shaft






Back in the CSO, the sewer is throttled by a 2ft slot before it exits downstream


No pain, no gain - Crawling a considerable distance down barely a 4ft brick overflow sometimes leads to the good stuff ;)


Time to head back above ground and turn it in for the evening

It's a good job these trips were spread out over a few years, as I think I would have lost the will to live by now with CSO after CSO and nothing much in between!


Staff member

This brings us nicely to Bombay Mix.. (also, see Academy further below)

Yorkshire Water constructed an Eastern Interceptor Sewer to carry storm flows from the CSO's which enter Eastbrook & Bowling Beck

In mid 2004 improvement works were undertaken as part of the East Bradford UPM programme, which provided additional storage of approximately 17,500m3

Bombay Mix is a series of off-line chambers used to screen the spill flow from a group of CSO's and utilising existing capacity within the sewer network

In conclusion, Eastbrook isn't a million miles away from an actual sewer itself, just don't mention it to the environment agency as I'm sure they would have a field day here!

I first went for a stroll here with Thompski a few years back, the air quality was dubious so we didn't venture too far

On a re-visit to Bowling Beck a couple of years back I debated having another look in, except my 4 gas had expired and I imagined suicidal without

Also LittleMike mentioned a close encounter with chlorine gas and his throat burning and having to escape the system via a manhole

I'd like to thank him for location of said lid "Split square in the grass"

The only ones we managed to find on earlier trips were within the perimeter of rather a secure site under the watchful eye of big brother

We rocked up late one winter evening, the night watchman popped out just at the right time, however showing little interest

As soon as his smoke break expired and pissed off back in, we popped the lid and dropped into a small brick chamber so we could see what we were up against


Once inside, some rather questionable fumage coming from a 2ft side pipe which joins at the bottom of the drop-shaft

Squiz climbed down into the culvert (Eastbrook) come sewer overflow

We agreed he would go no further than a few metres downstream for a looksie whilst I kept an eye on things from within the confines of the manhole

Within minutes, something changed, the air quality suddenly worsened and we weren't for taking any chances so I shouted Squiz back and we bailed

It was a good 12 months later before we returned here, this time we managed to locate a lid further downstream for a safer entry (or so we thought at the time)..

Here the Eastbrook is culverted through largely a 5ft RCP through the mid section, upstream is stoopy brick and shrunk to under 3ft as we hit the upstream limit

A number of follow up visits were made to a larger area in an attempt to see what we could of it, including the 'off-line' CSO's which serve the Eastern drainage

In total we located 5 CSO's/powered screening chambers on this system

Some serious effort went into this lot, numerous visits/blockading a number of carriageways for a look in was never going to be easy

I'll count them down...

CSO No.5

We first looked at this over a year ago now, there was a large gathering at the nearby curry house, and all but 1 of the lids were parked over by a fleet of Nissans :rolleyes:

Squiz lifted a lid in the road which provided access to the motors which power the machinery only, so we slammed it shut and went home

In the end I talked us both into heading back at a quieter time, barrier up and dropping in


Bit repetitive, as all 5 powered screening chambers are almost identical on this system

20ft Archimdes shit-scraper sat aside the Eastern interceptor used to filter solids when at capacity, I might as well copy & paste that for the rest of them..


For some strange reason with this one,
the sewer stops short of the overflow chamber and continues through a small diameter MP, with Squiz patiently waiting up top, also a standard feature


(In the above pic ^ you can see the overflow far right corner, next to the rungs)

Any discharge when at capacity heads down into Eastbrook which is a good 50m away down this crawler of a brick pipe, No thanks!

Dem be furry turds right there


CSO No.4

This one was a real P.I.T.A, as a multiple [Siezed] lid array afforded us no easy access to anything useful initially

Squiz really put his back out on this one, and despite having cajoled him to return a number of times here, I could always sense the Meh

It must of took us 4 or 5 visits to shift some of the 18 lids here alone, which provide varying access to the CSO/sewer network below

Every single one of them were siezed solid, compressed by heavy traffic over the years, however brute force prevailed and nothing that a tickle with a 5ft scaff bar couldn't sort

The first useful lid we budged only served as access to the motors which power the machinery, climbing down wasn't really an option so we slammed it shut


Another trip, another lid, sadly this only provided access to a smaller sewer that merged slightly upstream of the main trunk, still it was progress


Once again we ran out of time, but I realised the lid we required was slap bang in the middle of this ghetto drag strip

A month or so later, I persuaded Squiz to make one last trip here as I would never have been happy unless we'd nailed all 5!

Luck was in, and our lid of choice opened and lifted with ease, barriers deployed and Squiz as wingman, I shot down in the middle of the traffic

(Apologies for the pic quality as the lens was misting fast and wasn't wanting to hang about)

Screening Chamber



Eastern trunk

(As it exits the 6ft RCP below)



A stoop down a 4ft RCP reveals the connection to Eastbrook via a bodged job into the 3ft brick pipe


CSO No.3

This was fucking horrible, it reminded me of the Minger in Manchester but with added ming (and arse fudge), for once, I had to question what the actual fuck I was doing here

Sewers usually run green right ? the fuq was that brown and red stuff all about then, and it stunk to high heaven!

Didn't whiff of chemicals either, but the aroma was one I've not sampled before, I can only liken it to rotting flesh



With the lens fast misting up, I was covered in sewer spaff, one last pic and time to GTFO


Squiz wouldn't let me back in the car with the jacket either..


CSO No.2

This was the initial CSO we managed by stooping endlessly below ground one summer evening

Here another powered screen filters out any solids that may have escaped the other 3 trunk sewers much further upstream


A 4ft stoopy RBP serves as an overflow which back-connects to Eastbrook - (See confluence pic below)


The original overflow and sewer setup From CSO No.2 has since been intersected/diverted further d/s (circa 2002) to include a huge off-line detention tank


Crawling up the smaller brick spur as seen in the 'Confluence' pic below, gives way to a newer stretch of RCP which now serves any spill flows from the giant shit-tank that was installed in 2002

It's full to the brim as seen here and is prob a good 20-30m in depth

I took a quick handheld special whilst Squiz assisted with lighting it up, doing my best to catch a glimmer of soup of the day



A 3-way brick junction is part of the Eastbrook/Overflow which serves CSO No.2 and upwards


Further down, the pipe extends to a modest 7ft

On trip No.1 down here, in an attempt to check out CSO No.1 further d/s we encountered some strange chemical based fumage, which filled the pipe all of a sudden

I'd inadvertently left the 4 gas at home and had no idea what we could be potentially dealing with

Suffice to say it was a given we legged it back to the "split square in the grass" and out!


Far from happy with all that stooping and potential to go wrong

And also knowing there was possibly no way out to safety for at least 500m of unknown pipe diameter we located another safe lid and returned a week later to budge it

Due to all manner of excuses, it was almost 12 months before we managed to get back to this one and head downstream

As luck would have it the first 300m or so is a mixture of 6/7ft Brick > Stone > Brick as it snakes about underneath the City centre - WIN!

The last 200m or so is a stoopy, festering brick/concrete box which really is a means to and end, and so no pics as I'd simply lost the will to live by that point

Here a 4ft side pipe leads to No.1 CSO

(The ladder-less manhole is situated right outside the Job Centre) :rolleyes:


Once inside the usual Archimedes screw set-up which was becoming a fairly common sight here


I sent Squiz over into the incoming sewer to play lighting bitch and also to report back what all the racket was upstream

It was far too noisy to make any sense of what he was saying

Having picked out the words "Brick" & "Egg" I quickly made my way sewer side..

At the business side of things, the upstream sewer enters via a 4ft Egg, inverts via a concrete weir ahead of the CSO through a 6ft RCP



This was pretty typical with the Eastern Outfall sewer

The only real glimpse was to drop into a CSO or locate the odd lid that wasn't in a major carriageway like we rarely managed to do


Sprayed with fresh trying to grab a pic of the invert I was keen to get back to the CSO

When I returned, Squiz was amusing himself with a "worm party".. Don't ask just scrub to 17:42 in the video at the end of this thread if you really must know

I'm not sure what the outcome of the race was, but one of the worms was shitting everywhere and making a right mess

Calling it a day, I lobbed the bath plug into the fresh and headed back into Eastbrook to head downstream..

A 7ft Stone Arch is the choice of construction here, looks quite old, which comes as no surprise as it heads under some rather age old buildings and highway


Along the way a pikey sewer connection from a Premier Hotel chain was somehow spilling it's steamy load into the Brook, someone ought to report this..


Squiz found much amusement in dislodging a large collection of logs whilst taking this pic, which then proceeded to chase us both downstream

I managed to escape the :turd by legging it up a 3ft side pipe

Here, a smaller watercourse again of stone construction which had a fair old incline on it before it's connection with Eastbrook


At the top of the incline it was a short crawl through RCP as Squiz followed behind me

This led to a somewhat confined inspection chamber, with the remainder of the watercourse continuing upstream via a much smaller 2ft RCP

Here, a quick snap taken by Squiz himself on his Galaxy (iphone wish it were)


As we continued back downstream through the stone tunnel, it was slippery as hell underfoot, caked with p00p the situation wasn't made any easier

Isn't this supposed to be a surface water drain ?

Eventually, the age old stone tunnel gave way to an 8ft brick arch as we approached this sizeable junction/weir chamber


Squiz shot up the side entry drop-shaft to poke some drain bunting through the lid, with the hope of later locating it above ground in order to further plot the route..

Having dicked about much later on above ground, we were about to give up when I spotted it

Perhaps just as well we didn't lift it from below as it was located in a fairly busy carriageway and I reckon off with heads if we had bothered :eek:

Beyond the weir, the watercourse splits and winds itself underneath the City centre through a sizeable brick-box split initially

I say initially, as around 50m in it gets very stoopy and the festering shite below is about knee deep through the rest of it, we certainly didn't plan on heading back this way!


Eventually Bombay Mix (Eastbrook) outfalls into Macro (Bradford Beck)

Here an older pic from nearly 5 years ago from one of the many trips with Thompski under Brapford


In the end patience paid off and despite being nothing epic, was rather proud of what we both achieved with this lot

Everything connected to this system was grim as, I certainly would not ever consider heading back in any of it!



Staff member

Next up we decided to have a look in at the Academy section as Squiz had never seen this despite doing all the other touristy stuff in his home town

Having already been in here on numerous occasions I decided early on to shelve this lot until the end

Although we did have a couple of fails and a comedy brush with the law one evening trying to access the sewer stuff here

Police advice "You'd be better off lifting lids round here during the day, as it's less suspicious" - LEL

We were further advised that "we could" be brought in for some of the questionable items in Squiz's car if we didn't bugger off!

Not to be deterred we drove around the corner and popped more lids as you do..

Having ignored the advice from five-O, we accidentally a pumped/screened arrangement,
where unfortunately the sewer was too small once again to follow, and the off-line detention tank wasn't accessible either due to some hefty padlocks :(


A short stoop down the brick sewer overflow dropped us in at a junction

The Bowling Beck enters the chamber here and takes a 90 degree turn down a set of long stairs where it meets another junction


A 10ft pipe serves as the sewer overflow for the upstream trunk when at capacity



This in turn leads to a further set of stairs ahead of a screening chamber


(This pic was taken by Thompski when we first visited here a few years back)

It was always going to lead to something sizeable sporting that that large diameter, and it must cope with some serious flow during capacity this lot :eek:


Sadly, this off-line shit chomper only get's to nom on :turd when the system is at a major capacity, I would like to see some of these systems in action when it flash floods

It's assumed any screened solids are returned (pumped) back to the nearby sewer somehow below the 2 funnels you can just about make out in the pic below


A twin concrete split seperates the primary overflow chamber and the giant off-line powered screen


..Eventually leading to the primary overflow chamber (CSO), it's huge, and these pics do it no justice really



You can hear the sewer thundering away behind a wall that runs the backside of 4 huge overflow weirs, just no way of a look in as no way over without gear :(


Having exhausted what we could upstream of the Eastern stuff,
we turned our attentions back downstream in the hope we might fathom some access for a glimpse of the trunk before it hits the Esholt Tunnel Sewer

Night after night we lifted lids on some busy carriageways with our Asian friends competing to how close they could get @200mph without mowing us over :eek:

Believe it or not, we've even been mistaken for pikey's one night having spotted some forced entry into an old faithful derp whilst passing through

It seemed hopeless, as all we did get were glimpses and no opportunity to get anywhere near the sewer itself due to many reasons which all equated to sketch as f00k

As we continued on with the project, it would never be complete unless we had at least one pic of the d/s section of the Eastern interceptor

I was now beginning to question if it was indeed worth carrying on at all!

Whilst I had a bit of an emo moment I used the time to reflect on what the fuck we were actually trying to achieve here, who is really going to be interested in this shit anyway ?

Having looked back at my older pics from the culvert years here I remembered a small side pipe which we left alone at the time as it was breathing some dubious vapours

With the 4 gas deployed we headed back with a view to finally grabbing some pics of this bastard Eastern trunk :banghead

Here another older and smaller CSO is accessed from a side pipe, up into a brick drop-shaft


Step-irons lead up to the sewer overflow


Squiz rimming some block :D

(oh and that's Oxygen Thief's beanie hat, well and truly yoinked) !!


Once up, literally a brick weir and a short walkway seperate the sewer from the shaft


The other side gives way to the sewer as modelled once again by Squiz


Finally we managed to get a look-in, it was a great relief (excuse the pun), and is the last stretch before it merges with the Western interceptor before heading on down to Esholt

It was now getting seriosuly late so we decided to bail after this little excursion


Staff member
Frizinghall Outfall Sewer

Until 1926, this trunk sewer terminated at Frizinghall Sewage Treatment Works

Flows have since been diverted to the Esholt WwTW to the North East of Bradford via the Esholt Tunnel Sewer

In 1868, six years after the first sewage works, a private citizen sued Bradford Corporation for polluting the River Aire

Nobody knew what to do, then, in 1874, work began on a sewage purification plant at Frizinghall

It wasn't able to keep up with the rush of turds, some 20,000,000 gallons of effluent a day was too much for a 38 acre processing site

Today, with a gradient of 1 in 2,000 and almost 2 miles long, it discharges a capacity of around 180,000,000 gallons per day

Another feature I remember reading about, since being referred to only as a storm overflow in some on-line article..

With only a handful of places it could reasonably be given the geography of the area in question, (or so we thought) we went in search

In the end it eluded us for near on 3 years, having gone to great lengths, searching for & lifting countless lids :banghead

The only useful thing we did find was a small powered screen, which I didn't even bother to grab a pic of before slamming the lid shut in sheer frustration!!

Whenever we were at a loose end/looking for new stuff we always set some time aside to have that "one last look"


The one place we'd narrowed it down to was a waste of time, cut to shreds by some serious brambles the year before ^

I was scouring Google one evening and spotted something odd, it looked like a breather but turned out to be some elaborate lighting unit

Dropping the orange fella down to street view revealed a concrete gattic in the most unlikeliest of places

More annoyingly less than 200m from the very place we had aborted our last search party :rolleyes:

No pissing about here, I was on the blower to Squiz, and the very next morning I shot over to Bradford to check it out

1 split lid later and I was in... FFS! it was just an inspection chamber, 4ft overflow to my left and a 3ft RCP to my right, just out of shot


I broke the bad news to Squiz, though informing him around 30m the RCP appeared to take a sharp turn and warranted a closer

Squiz0r waited topside, keeping an eye out whilst I crawled up-to the 'sharp turn' to ascertain if anything useful lay beyond

Stooping is one thing but crawling up shit pipes is another, somehow I managed to convince myself it was a good idea, and soldiered on

Despite the stench breathing down the confined overflow, not a murmur from the meter and I was soon at the bend

A smaller manhole chamber was bleeding light from above, I took 2 mins to sit up and threw some lumens up the remaining overflow which now shrunk to just over 2ft

It appeared to go on indefinitely so I scurried back down to the manhole I dropped in and climbed out

With no line of sight from where we were stood, I'd hazard a guess as to where it might lead, so we set off on foot looking for further lids..

At a junction I spotted a couple of large gattics and 2 smaller split lids in the road, the first one lifted easily enough and revealed a large sewer

The manhole wasn't laddered and with no easy way down, it was obvious nobody was ever going to stand in it without been whipped away by the river of shyte below

The next lid wouldn't budge, Squiz went to fetch the car and the barriers as we now started to attract some unwanted attention

With limited props at our disposal I managed to snap the only useful thing we had and we opted out of hernias in favour of fucking it off

It had started to piss down and we were now getting a right soaking

Draining really is fun I can assure you :rolleyes:

Squiz went for a piss and I decided to go for a walk in case the line I chose was out, there were no other lids except for one on a pavement so I ushered him over with the keys

I quickly descended, as it was impossible to see anything from above


YES, YES and more YES, we're in and this was it, 3 fucking years to find this!


Thing is, it wasn't that special really, just a large non-screened CSO/storage tank with the Frizinghall trunk sewer suspended above the overflow


I was setting up the above shot, suddenly a loud rush of water, the level had risen slightly but nothing to cause concern, it just caught me off guard

As I shone my torch about to see what was going on, Squiz dropped in to see what all the fuss was about as I finished up grabbing pics

If you stare hard enough in the pic above, you can see another sewer dumping it's load into the upstream line

Beyond the overflow weir, the sewer spills at capacity and drains via "that shrinking RCP" from earlier


For completeness we went in search of the connecting sewer, we found it's quite small and runs through a screened box further NE of the City

I grabbed a quick pic whilst postman pat was doing his rounds


I was glad to have finally located this little lot, as I was about to write it off after this trip if unsuccessful

Eccleshill & Idle Interceptor Sewer

This intercepting sewer serves Eccleshill, Wrose/Idle & Thackley

Construction began in August 1909, and finished in June 1910, the total length of the sewer is 3000 yards with a gradient of 1 in 630

Discharging a capacity of 12,000,000 gallons per day, it eventually makes junction with the Esholt Tunnel Sewer ahead of the Northern portal within the WwTW

Located between Idle & Thackley, it's the Northern-most CSO that outfalls into the River Aire before it heads down to the treatment works at Esholt

It's also home to a massive bulb; MJS certainly puts Thackley on the map!

All I know is, when Squiz flushes his toilet it ends up in here, no wonder he was keen to check this one out :D


Stairway to shyte








Fuck knows, seemed like a good idea at the time :D




Esholt Shaft & (Outfall) Tunnel Sewer

Esholt was built in 1924, the 2 outfall sewers once terminated at Frizinghall Sewage Treatment Works until 1926

Flows were then diverted to the new Esholt STW to the North East of Bradford via the Esholt Tunnel Sewer which now serves a population of around 750,000 people and counting :D

Only one way to send all that sewage, a 4,807 yards long (3 mile), 10ft wide, 400ft deep tunnel from Frizinghall under Wrose, Idle and Thackley


In the autumn of 1919, bottom headings about 7ft square were started at Frizinghall and for the first 12 months was all that was done

It had been intended to work in both directions but that proposal was abandoned, owing to the high cost of carrying materials up the hills to the tops of the shafts

The bottom headings having been well advanced, the opening out of the tunnel excavation to full dimensions was started in November 1920

It was decided for traffic reasons however, not to concrete the invert, but only the side walls and crown of the arch

For the concrete lining special steel centerings were used, and lengths of 12ft were dealt with at a time

The centerings were carried on wheels, and there was a row of jacks on each side at the foot so that accurate adjustment was readily possible

In boring the tunnel the lower coal measures were passed through, coal seams and old workings were met with, the latter occasioning a good deal of expense in foundations

The tunnel also traversed ironstone which was difficult to pierce and treacherous shales, while many faults were encountered, one of them being more than 100ft wide

The work of forming the invert was begun in July 1923, and finished in the autumn of 1924

During that period, in addition to the concrete work, 2 million bricks were laid in the 4" brick lining

In fact as many as 860 bricks per man being laid per eight-hour shift in the circular section, including washing down the brickwork
An absolute feat of engineering in anyone's book!

A civic party led by the Lord Mayor of Bradford which was to open the new facility in 1924 drove through it in a 4 car convoy built by the Jowett company in Bradford
It was rumoured that when the dignitaries' car emerged from the tunnel at Esholt, the civic architect's wife was heard to say "and here comes the first load of shit"


Today, it serves 750,000 people, in short it's a lot of :turd

It was fair to say we were never going to follow Cyril on his way to the shit farm

However we did expect to get up close to the outfall sewer at very least somewhere in the system at some point..

All told, we first did this place 3 years ago now, only right we went back for one last visit

2 flights of stairs lead down to the sewer below


About the only safe place you can get close to the 3.05m outfall sewer as it heads down to the WwTW

We tried to rescue a frog on a previous visit, but it preferred the fresh :crazy


The tunnel is 3 miles in length, and afaik no other access before it hits Esholt


Staff member
And finally..



(credit Bradford Timeline)

A sewage system begun in Bradford in 1862 but Bradford Beck was still polluted as almost an open sewer as untreated discharge was still dumping into the beck

In 1869 William Stansfield of Esholt Hall obtained an injunction requiring Bradford Corporation to improve the sewage system so as not to pollute the beck

Bradford Corporation built a treatment works at Frizinghall to treat sewage before the water was put in the river

When Frizinghall works could not cope with the waste the Esholt estate was acquired for more than £239,000 as the site for a new sewage works

A three-mile long tunnel between Frizinghall and Esholt to connect the sites was completed in the 1920s, Frizinghall works closed in 1926


‘Where’s there’s muck there’s brass’ ..Never more true in the case of the internal railway system that used to operate at Esholt sewage works

The Esholt track system was extensive, up to 22 miles of it was in use at one time

It closed 35 years ago in late 1977, after the management of Esholt passed from Bradford Council to Yorkshire Water

Re-processed human waste matter was once used as fuel to power steam locomotives on the site

The grease residue from this re-processing was put to work as a lubricant for train axles and was taken up as the standard axle grease by railway companies all over the country

(before the nationalisation of railways after the Second World War)

Much has changed since 1924 when the works first came into operation..


Esholt is now Yorkshire Water’s largest wastewater treatment works, spread over 300 hectares

It treats waste from more than 300,000 homes, plus industrial waste equivalent to a population of a further 442,000 people

The redeveloped plant now has the capacity to treat up to 3,240 litres per second of wastewater and supports 750,000 people in Bradford and North Leeds

It has also improved water quality entering the River Aire and ensures environmental compliance with the European Union’s (EU) Freshwater Fish Directive which came into force in 2010

So this is where we sent Cyril 3 years ago nearly, in the end there was no sign of him

We hoped he'd escaped the scrapers and the digester's and swam to freedom

(just not back into the Beck as it worse than a sewer, nobody tell the Environment Agency) :rolleyes:

I'd like to think they installed this sign in his memory


As it's a live site with cctv and workers in every corner, I was more than happy to just see the Northern portal of the 1924 Esholt Tunnel as it off-loads the :turd into the shit farm

Far from content with this idea Squiz0r, twisted my arm (honest) into a further poke about this rather lively site

..Really he just wanted to pipe one off :D


There's certainly more to this place than first meets the nose

Bit gutted here as the wangle was playing up, and focus was bit hit & miss on the majority of the pics I took, here's a few that were passable

Esholt Tunnel Sewer (Outfall), constructed 1924




On the first trip here all was calm..

As you can see, a steady flow and hardly a murmur from the turds as they synchronised their final swim towards the shit chompers, through this 11ft deep detritus pit


It's a one way street for these turds as the penstocks were closed, instead they divert down the other channel awaiting their final fate at the shit scrapers


There's a total of 6 primary scrapers here

Their sole purpose to filter out the sanitary products, bog roll, needles, jam rags, goldfish, hopes, dreams and any other foreign objects that manage to find a way down the toilet


I'm not a fan of sanitary products myself

My tripod often returns from a successful night out and takes pride of place in the bathroom draped in all manner of shyte, much to the annoyance of the Mrs the next morning :D

Some say I'm a walking toilet lol, I've done my best to Police the solids over the years :rolleyes:


In reality, much of the nasty stuff is bailed to a skip to avoid returning back through your tap


Anyway, not quite happy with the pics from the WwTW, I solo'd it back a few weeks later for some further snaps, on the long walk down the heavens opened

As I went to set the first shot up, an alarm went off, wtf ?

Next minute the outfall system went berserk, some pumps kicked in and the fresh started spaffing everywhere


Shaken not stirred..


Wedged between the railings and some high powered sewage, I was now being showered by Bradford's finest chocolate fountain

I wasn't prepared to sacrifice another Nikon, so decided to get the hell out

As an observation I'd like to point out the rhododendrons need pruning :D

Believe it or not, Bradford has it's own ocean


An ocean of turds, modelled here by your's truly


To think this stuff ends up back through your tap, not for me I'll stick to the Kronie's :D


Well that's it.. after 3 years we've crossed the finish line, thanks to Squirrell_911 - job done :thumb

Sadly, we never did find Cyril :(


Besides the exploring aspect here, it also made for some comedy trips, meets & party's over the years, some fond memories that will never leave me


If anyone is interested in booking this venue for say a wedding, 21st or whatever, then contact Squiz for further information :D

Back to the armchair for me now, and look forward to catching up on the last 3 years above ground..

PS. If you've managed to get this far without switching off then well done and thanks for taking time out to read the waffle :Not Worthy

For those that can't read, here's some video

(HD 1080 for best quality)




Squirrell 911

Regular User
That was an awsome read mate :thumb :thumb :thumb.

When people do a good explore and do a willy wave then it gets the tour bus treatment then locked down and it dies a death. Like Ojay said this was 3 years work here that a few people knew about but we kept it under the radar (so far under the radar you get N00bs asking if you have done owt recently) :crazy and its involved much discussions over beer and curry as to which sections to do and which lids to find because its just legwork and lifting lids to join the dots. Bradford does have its touristy bits (Bypass for example) and people we show it are impressed but we have been itching to show others our project but refrained until we had done it.
Yes its a long read but definiatly worth it infact the timescale and effort that we have put into this we could have done a degree in it and get a Bsc (Bachelor of Sewage and Crap) ;)

Top work Ojay, its been worth it. :thumb


Mr Muscle
28DL Full Member
Holy fucking hell!! Drain section is now finished. This is thorough beyond anything most of us will ever do & the effort involved in doing this is absolutely incredible.

Take a bow Ojay & Squiz, this is a whole city mapped out like nobody has done it before. Absolutely top bombing :thumb