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UER Forum > UE Encyclopedia > Sanitary Sewer (Viewed 10545 times)
Entry: Sanitary Sewer
originally posted by MacGyver

[last edit 2/26/2012 4:26 PM by Strielok - edited 4 times]

Sanitary Sewer

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Sanitary sewers are artificial tunnels, and piping that is designed to collect and channel sewage away from the public and off to a treatment facility or outfall. Do not confuse san sewers with stormwater runoff drain, which carry more or less clean rainwater runoff. Sanitary sewers are filled with human waste and all of the other kinds of wastewater from buildings.

Sewers can come in many different varieties. Some are simply small pipes buried in topsoil, and some are elaborate tunnels carved from naked rock. The amount of flow ing sewage, the consistency of the sewage, the smell, and the air quality tends to vary greatly even within the same set of tunnels.

Exploring sewers is dangerous and should not be undertaken lightly or without proper equipment and knowledge. The bare minimum for sewering is proper illumination and rubber boots, but most recreational sewer explorers prefer chest waders, a raincoat with a hood, thick rubber gloves, and a bandanna to keep their hair somewhat protected. Respirators or gas masks are not much help against the smell or bad gasses (especially a simple lack of oxygen) and will make it more difficult to breathe in enough air. My advice is to leave the respirator at home and concentrate on breathing and keeping sewage out of your mouth.

Step surely to keep your balance. Slipping and falling down in an active sewer would not be pleasant at all. Be careful that you can tell how deep the channel of sewage is and how fast it is flowing. Being swept off of your feet and then downstram in a river of sewage would also not be pleasant. Stay out of the sewers if you have any open wounds or a known weak immune system. There are a lot of frightening things floating around in the air that could get you very sick, and sewage should not be allowed to get on the inside of your body in any way if you can help it.

An additional hazard that may be found is what is known as an ejector pump. This is a powerful pump that can also mash or grind waste (and perhaps, you) as it pumps. They are used when it is necessary to pump sewage upward to a higher level.
(end edit)

This colorful and rather accurate analysis of the smell of raw sewage is excerpted from Action Squad's writeup of the Stahlmann Brewery Cellars:
You probably think this tunnel smelled bad. Nope, it didn't. You see, rotting raw sewage in a confined space somehow goes beyond bad, and beyond smell, as well … and into a whole new dimension of wrongness. It was the most disgusting thing I have ever experienced.

Imagine taking a big, messy shit, eating it, throwing it up, eating it again with a little shampoo on top, letting it digest a bit longer, throwing it up again, and then pissing on it. Now imagine how that would smell if you pushed a couple globs of it up your nose and left them there to fester for several weeks. That would be close, I'd imagine.
-Max Action

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See also Combined Sewer and Overflow (CSO)
A CSO is a combination of a storm drain and a sewer. The pipe usually carries both types of runoff in varying mixtures to a treatment plant. CSOs are inefficient because the treatment plant has to process excess clean water. Many cities are working on separating their sewer systems into dedicated storm drains and dedicated santiary sewers, but CSOs will still be encountered from time to time.

See also: Snotsicle
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