Somewhat related: sewer divers?

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Somewhat related: sewer divers?

Postby Wayne Harrison » Jan 3, 2007 10:37 am

:scuba: I was listening to a podcast that mentioned sewer divers who go into municipal sewers to retrieve stuff or unclog pipes. I had never heard of such a thing. A quick Google search turned up this Washington Post story from a few years ago on a sewer diver in Mexico City:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/ar ... Aug29.html
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Postby Nico » Jan 3, 2007 11:39 am

I've seen these guys several times on tv. Once his suit got cut somehow while diving :shocked:
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Postby batrotter » Jan 4, 2007 7:37 am

Here's a National Geographic story with video on a sewer diver in Mexico City.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news ... video.html
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Postby George H. Davis » Jan 4, 2007 9:32 am

This normally isn't done too often in the US, thank goodness....a VERY nasty job.

Condition determination in sewers is normally accomplished by the use of a video camera that's on a crawler unit. The video output is put on videotape, and appropriate determinations of distances are used to locate sewer laterals, etc., coming off the main trunk sewer.

When man-entry is used, normally a hot-water and detergent washout precedes the man going inside the pipe. According to OSHA standards, confined-space procedures are used. It's still pretty uncomfortable, dangerous (due to the possibility of hydrogen sulfide gas), and just plain filthy.

Let's stick with the caves, though this can be a high-paying job.

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Postby bigalpha » Jan 4, 2007 1:34 pm

Mike Rowe did that on a few of his episodes, I think.
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Postby Billy » Jan 5, 2007 7:28 am

I am working on a project that involves using acoustic velocity meters (as opposed to conventional cupped meters, because of obvious clogging) for measuring discharge in main sewers and combined drainage. No diving, just wading/crawling, but it's more than enough. That diver is tough as nails. H2S is the main issue, not lack of O2. With H2S, you are usually concerned with olfactory fatigue, but when you're working down there, you're PRAYING for olfactory fatigue. We had a runoff event yesterday while we were in, no problem, effluent about 9" high; got out, and within a half hour it was almost pipefull (48" pipe).
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sewer diving

Postby tagkaver » Jan 5, 2007 12:33 pm

man i hope these guys get paid good because that looks extremely nasty to be swimming around in. :hitsfan:
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Postby Marbry » Jan 5, 2007 5:22 pm

This was a story I heard when I worked for the Water Dept. here. A new sub-division, fairly pricy go figure, was being worked on right across the river from the new wastewater plant. And yes we would get odor complaints every summer.

In the process of drilling an irrigation well for a house in the development, they managed to punch a hole right through the 46 inch main running to the wastewater plant. This was in use and of course is where 'everything' was ending up, there was nowhere to divert to, or to be able to stop the flow.

A diver was lowered down one of the 100ft + deep access points (it flows by gravity so it has to be lower than the rest of the system) upstream of the breach, and had to work his way downstream to cut loose the offending drill and patch the hole.

Yummy.
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Postby George H. Davis » Jan 8, 2007 5:36 pm

Just goes to show you, you need to call your local one-call agency to mark the utilities BEFORE you drill.

The new nationwide one-call number in April 2007 will be "811". Dial the number, and you'll get the one-call agency. Imagine if that gravity sewer was a pressurized line, and the driller hit it.......... :oops:

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Sewer Diving-For Real

Postby Ronal Kerbo » Jan 9, 2007 4:06 pm

I hope not too long a post:

When I was a young person (22), I was a commercial diver, working for International Underwater Contractors out of Bayside, New York; one of the most memorable jobs was diving in sewers in Brooklyn, New York. I did this in 1967; I lived on West 10th Street in the Village back then, and thought that I would be a commercial diver for the rest of my life.

A new sewage treatment plant was under construction and our job was to open up or cut into valves between sewer segments, which would flood previously dry chambers and then use jackhammers underwater to destroy brick walls between the sewer segments, thus connecting everything for future routing to the sewage treatment plant. Operating jackhammers (horizontally) underwater is another story.

We would also cut the hinges off doors at sewage discharge points in the rivers, then close them, and weld them shut so that the sewage would no longer dump into the rivers.

This job paid the minimum for commercial diving because there was no depth involved (a maximum of 17 feet) but as we moved away from the manhole covers and the open surface of the big chambers into the tunnels (it was pitch black down there) we would get more money because we were under a ceiling. Some of the tunnels were completely packed full of “stuff” and we had to use a large suction hose to clean them out.

Our suits (dry suits, called Cousteau constant volume suits) would leak, as well as the helmet mouthpiece, so that the sewer water would get inside the suit and from time to time into my mouth. I was extremely sick for three days, because of the leaking mouthpiece, thought I was going to die. One day I rode the subway back to my apartment after my suit was flooded (I was all alone in the subway car that day). In addition, some interesting things happened one day when I went to sleep underwater while using the suction hose. How did I go to sleep? Well I was warm, it was dark, and I was floating weightlessly in a small confined space full of terrible "stuff".

Anyway, thank goodness, I was already diving in caves back then; it helped prepare me for the job!

:scuba:
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Re: Sewer Diving-For Real

Postby Dwight Livingston » Jan 9, 2007 4:32 pm

Ronal Kerbo wrote:I hope not too long a post:
:scuba:


Not too long - too short! Great stories, I'd love to read about it in detail. Maybe a News feature article about how one gets into cave diving? It would be nice. But I don't mean to make work for you. Thanks for posting it.

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Postby tagkaver » Jan 9, 2007 6:57 pm

that sounds pretty bad. i couldn't handle the mouthpiece leaking that "crap" into my mouth.
glad someone else out there will do it.
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