We have heard of some weird and wacky reasons for sewage drains to overflow. This one tops them all!
As a drainage engineer you are used to seeing the unimaginable and unthinkable causes for blocked drains. But some sights shock even the most experienced of practitioners.
Somebody in Ipswich, went to an elaborate length to discard their undesired portion of their Sunday roast. Picture the scene.
Excusing themselves from the table, they made their way hastily toward the bathroom, shielding something under their shirt. Leaving a slither of gravy like a bread crumb trail, they quickly enter the bathroom and bolt the lock.
In one quick motion a Yorkshire pudding is stuffed into the toilet basin and flushed in one foul swoop. The floury Sunday favourite swirled before disappearing through the wastepipe.
They let out a sigh of relief, believing that the Yorkshire is no more, for at least another Sunday. How wrong they were.
It wouldn’t be long before Anglian Water discover the remanence of a Yorkshire pudding blocking a drain in Ipswich. It didn’t take long for the water company to ask people specifically to not flush Yorkshire puddings down the toilet. I bet that made the culprit blush!
Whilst being an incredibly strange find for a blocked drain, this is not the only curveball drainage engineers have uncovered from a blocked drain. We thought this would be the perfect opportunity to highlight a list of some strange items to have been found blocking the sewage systems, or just found in the drains across the globe.
Before we reveal the list, we should say that there are a few rules everyone should follow when flushing items down the toilet. Follow, what is known as “the 3 P’s”. Only flush pee, poo and paper down the toilet!
So, without further ado, here is the list of weird and wonderful items found in a blocked drain or sewer system.
The London Fatberg
A 15-tonne mass of fat and baby wipes blocked the sewers under London Road in Kingston-upon-Thames. It stretched well over 11 London bus lengths and took over three weeks and thousands of pounds to remove. Similar fatbergs have been found in places like Devon, but this is one of the biggest removed to date. So that fat you may pour down the sink won’t just give you a blocked drain!
You would have thought that nobody but the teenage mutant ninja turtles would call the sewers their home. However, in Las Vegas, over 1,000 homeless people have joined the four turtles in becoming real life tunnel dwellers. People suffering from gambling, drug or alcohol abuse have built their homes in the tunnels below the city. They have even kitted out their sewers with an array of furnishings, bedding and even a library of books.
Believe it or not, false teeth are one of the more common items that are found to be the cause of blocked drains. It is surprising what an engineer can find in the sewage system, ranging from children’s toys, mobile phones, and yes, false teeth. There has even been cases where teeth with gold dentures have been plucked from a blocked drain.
Back in 2011 Severn Trents sewage treatment attempted to reunite people with their teeth that were found in the sewers. Although that page no longer exists. We can only guess that there were not many takers for a reunion with their lost dentures…
A Brazilian street artist named Zazao, has been causing a stir for years with his inventive form of expression art. Rather than causing a blocked drain, this sewer find brightens up the walls with some of the best graffiti art around.
Using the walls as his canvas his art helped him through a bout of depression. He has since expanded his artwork to other cities including Paris and London. Perhaps the tunnel dwellers should get in contact and see if he can create them some new décor.
From the wonderful to the luxurious with the next discovery. An honest street cleaner from Southend, Essex, discovered four expensive watches down the drain. The two Rolexes, Frank Muller and Omega watch totalled around £60,000. How it didn’t cause a blocked drain with the size of the clock faces we will never know.
For our next find we travel to Nagano, Japan. Here a sewage treatment facility extracted £38,500 worth of gold from the sludge overflowing the sewage drain. The gold particles are said to have come from precision instruments used by people in the industry. Now that is one cause of a blocked drain I wouldn’t mind.
On American soil it is not uncommon to find an alligator within your sewer pipe. As seen in the above picture, a man even videoed an alligator hissing at him eerily from the darkness within the drain. There have even been instances of young children stumbling across alligators blocked in the drain. Looks like American drainage experts may need to be part-time pest controllers from time to time.
You read that right! Sheep heads!
In Cape Town, South Africa, sheep heads, among other items, have been causing a menace in the cities overflow system. This, in turn has caused millions of pounds a year to rectify. Residents have been abusing the sewage system for years according to a Mayoral committee member. We thought we would spare you the picture on this blocked drain cause as it looks like something from a horror movie.
I’m sure that some of these causes of blocked drains or sewer inhabitants have both shocked and perplexed you. From weird items being flushed away, to the dangerous discoveries of half tonne alligators, the sewage systems can be somewhat of an enigma.
A drainage engineer will never be surprised by what he finds in the drainage systems across the globe. It is very much a case of expecting the unexpected.