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UER Forum > UE Main > Gases in drains (Viewed 1405 times)
sanctive 


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Gases in drains
< on 8/31/2017 10:46 AM >
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Hello all. I'm curious if anyone here has heard of or actually had an experience with toxic gases, particularly in tunnels or drains. I'm concerned about exploring the underground more until I get my gas mask. I know in my hometown of St. Paul, MN, a few teens died of carbon monoxide in some caves.





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NotBatman 


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Re: Gases in drains
< Reply # 1 on 8/31/2017 12:35 PM >
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A good rule of thumb is that if there's good waterflow in a drain, the air will usually be alright.

Smaller drains can (and do) get a little sketchy at the end if they go long enough that the air in the back doesn't move. It's worse if there's rotting leaves and muck that can get stirred up by walking through it, releasing gases that had been contained underwater.

A "gas mask" won't help unless it's a fully contained system and you're carrying your air with you. You can get an expensive testing kit and check the air as you go, but it needs to be calibrated every few months, and that's not cheap either. (Because, you know, it's legit life-saving stuff.)

Really, what you want to do is take it easy until you're comfortable in drains and you know what to do and what to look for in your own body. Bring a friend or two, and have people on the outside who know where you are and who are expecting you to check in at a given time. Bring extra flashlights, just in case you find something good. (Your phone does not count as a flashlight.)

Pay attention to the airflow - in a drain most times you should be able to feel at least SOME breeze blowing in the direction that the water runs. Pay attention to your body - if you start getting short of breath for any reason (but especially if it's for no reason) it's time to turn around. Same goes for heart rate, but that will be trickier your first few times if you're excited - even so, play it safe.

Read Predator's Approach to Draining, then read it again.

And SERIOUSLY, No Drains When It Rains.

Posted by cancer4free
I know in my hometown of St. Paul, MN, a few teens died of carbon monoxide in some caves.


In general, what happens there is that the kids in question, or their friends, started a fire in a cave which ate all of their oxygen and they suffocated as a result because the city has done everything they can to block all entrances, which restricts airflow.

DO NOT go all "survival mode" and start fires in caves.



[last edit 8/31/2017 1:34 PM by NotBatman - edited 1 times]

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Re: Gases in drains
< Reply # 2 on 8/31/2017 2:56 PM >
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Everything NotBatman said is true and should be followed.

The reason people die of carbon dioxide/monoxide poisoning in caves is because of campfires lit in caves.

I'll repeat that....

Death in caves is caused by fires.

DO NOT LIGHT FIRES IN CAVES.

The fire consumes the oxygen, and all breathable air becomes replaced with carbon smoke.

Caves that historically would've naturally aired out are now smoke traps because THE CITY blocks up entrances. The city of St. Paul, attempting to keep kids out of caves (because they're potential deathtraps), blocks all airflow in the cave (turning them into certain deathtraps).

So the city, in a way, is responsible for those kids dying. Yes, we all have a responsibility to watch out for our own safety.

And that means being mindful of the air in a cave. Do not continue into a cave if there is a smell of smoke. People black out quickly and unexpectedly when venturing into bad air environments.

I've been in caves where the air is fine in one chamber, and then you climb down through a fairly wide opening and descend into another chamber where suddenly there's no oxygen at all. In those cases, the air had been consumed by discarded oil filters and rusting metal (which also consumes oxygen), and there was no obvious giveaway that the air was bad. Only experience - and the cognitive realization that my heart-rate increased - warned me that I was suddenly in an oxygen-free environment.

Luckily, there is an extremely easy way to check oxygen quality -- bring a lighter. If you can get a lighter to ignite and stay lit, you can be pretty sure the oxygen is present. If you can't get the lighter to stay lit, you should exit the chamber immediately.

Obviously this doesn't apply to methane-rich atmospheres like certain nasty sewers. But air qualities in drains and caves are not typically combustible.





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Re: Gases in drains
< Reply # 3 on 8/31/2017 6:02 PM >
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if it hasn't been mentioned, hydrogen sulfide is another nasty gas you can encounter in more fetid drains. You can buy 'crickets' online that are H2S monitors. We had to wear them at work because when certain chemicals we worked with interacted with each other, as well as gases from the pulping process, hydrogen sulfide was generated. You wear them near your midsection and they start to shriek when a ppm threshold has been reached. If I still worked there, I'd grab you a couple.

one more thing about H2S, in low concentrations, it smells like a nasty fart or rotten eggs. In high concentrations, it numbs the sense of smell and kills you quickly. A mill International Paper was operating in Alabama lost 12 people a few years ago to H2S... It pools in low areas and a guy walked into that area, took a breath and died. Eleven other people rushed into grab him, not wearing crickets and they died.

It's unlikely you'll run into this shit in a drain, but just something to keep in mind.





sanctive 


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Re: Gases in drains
< Reply # 4 on 9/1/2017 1:52 AM >
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Thanks for all the feedback so far. Will definitely keep all this in mind.




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Re: Gases in drains
< Reply # 5 on 9/1/2017 2:08 PM >
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For sake of information because I really don't know. When you talk about 'crickets' aren't those sensors supposed to be calibrated? Can they wear out over time and such? I'd hate to, for example, get a cricket on Amazon and find out that it's not calibrated right or needs something put in to work without knowing.

Complete newb status here.




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Re: Gases in drains
< Reply # 6 on 9/1/2017 4:48 PM >
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Literally the most important thing to remember if you're concerned about bad air is if you feel at all different than normal, headache, sore throat, dizzy, etc leave immediately. It could be something minor, maybe you just have allergies or something but it's a whole lot better to miss out on fully exploring a drain than miss out on fully exploring your life. I'm all for draining, I do it too, but just know when to turn back.

Also, it is not guaranteed that you will feel different before you pass out, its just an additional safety check to keep in mind.




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Re: Gases in drains
< Reply # 7 on 9/1/2017 5:41 PM >
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Posted by 4Valhal
For sake of information because I really don't know. When you talk about 'crickets' aren't those sensors supposed to be calibrated? Can they wear out over time and such? I'd hate to, for example, get a cricket on Amazon and find out that it's not calibrated right or needs something put in to work without knowing.

Complete newb status here.


the small crickets don't. they run off a battery and are pretty accurate. They also beep when the battery gets low so you know they are dying. They don't like to get smashed around at all. I know because I threw quite a few of them into walls and other people. The ones I worked with had a small display on them that gave you how many ppm you in, type of gas, and battery status.


now 'sniffer' functions are a bit different. The ones we had where I worked self-calibrated in their storage rack every 2am so they were ready to go. Whenever we had people go into confined spaces, such as the washers, storage tanks or drain vaults, some sad sack, usually the low man on the seniority list, would have to grab a sniffer and 'sniff the hole' (yes, this always got a snicker or too) and make sure there was nothing in it. Sniffers are pretty expensive in relation to a cricket. But then again, so is a complete SCBA apparatus. (We had to wear those sometimes...)





[last edit 9/1/2017 5:42 PM by Samurai - edited 1 times]

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Re: Gases in drains
< Reply # 8 on 9/1/2017 6:25 PM >
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You can usually rent a multi-gas monitor. Out here in Vancouver they run about 60-70$ Per day. I usually have access to some through my work, but I have rented them before. They check for LEL (lower explosive level), oxygen, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide.

$60-70 might not sound cheap. Do consider that buying one with the bump test kit will run you over $1200. So 60$ is a cheap investment on potentially saving your life.




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Re: Gases in drains
< Reply # 9 on 9/2/2017 1:34 PM >
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Or come to Australia




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Re: Gases in drains
< Reply # 10 on 9/2/2017 2:18 PM >
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Posted by -Rio-
You can usually rent a multi-gas monitor. Out here in Vancouver they run about 60-70$ Per day. I usually have access to some through my work, but I have rented them before. They check for LEL (lower explosive level), oxygen, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide.

$60-70 might not sound cheap. Do consider that buying one with the bump test kit will run you over $1200. So 60$ is a cheap investment on potentially saving your life.



If you're not trained to work in confined spaces a monitor isn't enough.
One breath is all it takes to KO you in the wrong conditions.
H2S is an insidious poison.
It kills trained, experienced workers; about 10 every year in the US.



[last edit 9/2/2017 2:19 PM by blackhawk - edited 2 times]

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Samurai 

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Re: Gases in drains
< Reply # 11 on 9/2/2017 5:09 PM >
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Posted by blackhawk

H2S is an insidious poison.
It kills trained, experienced workers; about 10 every year in the US.



you get used to it.




[last edit 9/2/2017 5:13 PM by Samurai - edited 1 times]

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Re: Gases in drains
< Reply # 12 on 9/2/2017 5:35 PM >
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Posted by Samurai


you get used to it.




The human body has a natural tolerance to extremely low level's of H2S gas. Because it is naturally produced in our bodies.
However there is no safe long term exposure limit; it has the potential to cause permanent damage even in the smallest of amounts in cases of long term exposures.
Yes, well... you asked.
https://ohsonline....gen-sulfide.aspx?m

Above the 15ppm level it produces poisoning.
Your tolerance to can actually decrease from chronic exposure, fatigue or alcohol during exposure or from the night before.
-If- you can smell it, you are in danger.




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Samurai 

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Re: Gases in drains
< Reply # 13 on 9/2/2017 9:44 PM >
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Posted by blackhawk


The human body has a natural tolerance to extremely low level's of H2S gas. Because it is naturally produced in our bodies.
However there is no safe long term exposure limit; it has the potential to cause permanent damage even in the smallest of amounts in cases of long term exposures.
Yes, well... you asked.
https://ohsonline....gen-sulfide.aspx?m

Above the 15ppm level it produces poisoning.
Your tolerance to can actually decrease from chronic exposure, fatigue or alcohol during exposure or from the night before.
-If- you can smell it, you are in danger.


I was fucking being sarcastic.
when you work in a place like I worked for all those years, you get kind of blasé about things. You know where the trouble spots are and you don't dawdle there. If you get paranoid about everything around you, you'll end up a nervous wreck and unable to do a proper job and then you will get hurt.

If you saw my arms and hands, you wouldn't know what to think. I have some many chemical burns on them, it's kind of creepy looking. I once had a spent sulfuric acid line blow off in my face. For about 10 seconds, I had no idea what was on my face. Luckily, it was just flush water with a little bit of spent acid to give it a smell.




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Re: Gases in drains
< Reply # 14 on 9/2/2017 10:05 PM >
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Posted by Samurai


I was fucking being sarcastic.
when you work in a place like I worked for all those years, you get kind of blasé about things. You know where the trouble spots are and you don't dawdle there. If you get paranoid about everything around you, you'll end up a nervous wreck and unable to do a proper job and then you will get hurt.

If you saw my arms and hands, you wouldn't know what to think. I have some many chemical burns on them, it's kind of creepy looking. I once had a spent sulfuric acid line blow off in my face. For about 10 seconds, I had no idea what was on my face. Luckily, it was just flush water with a little bit of spent acid to give it a smell.



I see what you mean. People who work with H2S tend to grow accustomed to its ever presence.
I know people who almost were killed by it; only a coworker risking their own life with no SCBA saved them.
H2S is one of the worst poisonous gases there is.
Much worse than CO.
Never underestimate it.




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Re: Gases in drains
< Reply # 15 on 9/2/2017 10:42 PM >
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Posted by blackhawk


I see what you mean. People who work with H2S tend to grow accustomed to its ever presence.
I know people who almost were killed by it; only a coworker risking their own life with no SCBA saved them.
H2S is one of the worst poisonous gases there is.
Much worse than CO.
Never underestimate it.


try ClO2 for size... Chlorine dioxide... oh it's a peachy poo to get a snootful... I unlocked a chlorine dioxide heat exchanger once when we first got that piece of equipment in. It had been locked out to replace a pressure disc that had popped. I had never unlocked it before and there was no procedure for it as yet printed up. So I missed a drain into the u-drain in the floor... In less than 20 seconds, I put 900 gallons of fresh ClO2 to the sewer. So what's the big deal with that? One of the reasons that chlorine dioxide is made on site is that you can't transport it. Once it comes out of the reactors, it had to go a chilling tower to be cooled, the storage tanks are cooled... It decays violently if left uncooled. Funny story about puffs if you want. Anyways, so I am screaming over the PA for Nate (the operator) to shut it down WHILE the green cloud of doom is filling the basement. I ran up four flights of stairs to the control room, donned and SCBA and had to go back down to the basement to close the drain... the tank I grabbed, some assfuck had put a nearly empty one back in the case so as I was half done with the job (my own fault for not checking... but you assume that someone wouldn't be an assfuck), I started to run out of air. LOL... oh what fun.
Meanwhile, as I am standing in the green cloud of doom, I was waiting for the place to explode. Luckily, the stuff does kind of gas off quick.




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Re: Gases in drains
< Reply # 16 on 9/18/2017 1:30 AM >
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Posted by cancer4free
Hello all. I'm curious if anyone here has heard of or actually had an experience with toxic gases, particularly in tunnels or drains. I'm concerned about exploring the underground more until I get my gas mask. I know in my hometown of St. Paul, MN, a few teens died of carbon monoxide in some caves.



If you cant light a lighter in there you cant breathe.




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Re: Gases in drains
< Reply # 17 on 9/18/2017 3:49 AM >
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Posted by natesidwesturbex

If you cant light a lighter in there you cant breathe.



But if everything explodes you've found either methane or H2S.




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Re: Gases in drains
< Reply # 18 on 9/18/2017 4:06 AM >
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Posted by natesidwesturbex

If you cant light a lighter in there you cant breathe.



A flame can burn in O2 levels too low to support life...




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Re: Gases in drains
< Reply # 19 on 9/19/2017 5:23 PM >
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Posted by natesidwesturbex
If you cant light a lighter in there you cant breathe.


This is dangerously bad advice...




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