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UER Forum > Rookie Forum > Gearing up for drains (Viewed 4803 times)
stickbeat 


Location: Peterborough
Gender: Female
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Gearing up for drains
< on 8/6/2014 3:40 AM >
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Like I said before: long-time explorer here. Never done drains, though - it had never occurred to me to enter one, but the photos I've seen have got me hankerin' after the experience.

For you drainers, what gear's good gear to have for a drain? Rather, how d'you kit yourselves out? Considering the utter nastiness that might be found under the city, what kind of precautions do you take (e.g 'don't enter with any open wounds whatsoever' or something).

Basic practicality says rubber boots (or even fisher's coveralls?), a respirator, flashlight, and reflective tape.

I'm hoping that, when I eventually do find someone willing to guide me in, I'll be able to avoid sewers - but there's no guarantee there (I have no idea, maybe Toronto just mixes its wastewater together?)

What can I expect in the drains, and what's the best way to prep for it?




- A.
Steed 


Location: Edmonton/Seoul
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Your Friendly Neighbourhood Race Traitor

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Re: Gearing up for drains
< Reply # 1 on 8/6/2014 3:52 AM >
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First, this is mandatory reading:
http://www.infiltration.org/approach.htm

You wouldn't need a respirator in a drain, as there's probably no asbestos down there. Also, it's best to have at least two flashlights.




stickbeat 


Location: Peterborough
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Re: Gearing up for drains
< Reply # 2 on 8/6/2014 4:34 AM >
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Posted by Steed
You wouldn't need a respirator in a drain, as there's probably no asbestos down there.


I wasn't thinking about asbestos, more about gasses.

Thanks for the link, too - I'll give it a read.




- A.
wranglerroadhead 


Location: San Diego/LA
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Safari Kay

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Re: Gearing up for drains
< Reply # 3 on 8/6/2014 4:43 AM >
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First thing to decide is if you're trying to stay dry or not as that will drastically influence what you are going to wear. I think most people explore just in shorts and some old tennis shoes like if you were exploring a creek or small body of water. Many drains are pretty much just underground waterways for creeks and whatnot so you wouldn't have to worry about sewage so much as just the normal trash and gunk floating around a city.

On the other hand you can go the dry route with some hip waders and the like to cut down on the "ick" factor. Staying dry may limit you in your explore if you end up somewhere kinda deep or need to climb up a shoulder high outfall with some running water. You also either have to pack your waders en route to the drain or just walk around wearing them with is a bit suspicious. If you know for sure you are heading for a legit sewer you will appreciate the waders as a worthwhile investment. Make sure you test them beforehand in nice water though as being 100m into a knee deep sewer and realizing that you have a crack at your now wet ankle will be a real downer.

I've explored some drains on a whim while walking down the street and seeing a cool outfall just using a cell phone light. I've also loaded out with full body harness, climbing gear, and SCBA to take a peak down some major sewer infrastructure. It is all fun, just don't explore past your limits and the limitations of the gear you have at your disposal.

That said, read the infiltration site, start out with some quality flashlights, and try doing some research about the drains you wish to explore beforehand. If you dig deep enough you can get at least a partial map for any city's wastewater design. Generally the city's map of the sewers will be called a "sewer atlas", at least from where I'm from it is.

There is some cool stuff and a ton of history down there; good luck!




"It's nothing, only the smellz."
stickbeat 


Location: Peterborough
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Re: Gearing up for drains
< Reply # 4 on 8/6/2014 4:59 AM >
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I have an undergrad in history and infrastructure development is fascinating.

This is my inspiration, but also an invaluable resource to anyone in the area:

http://www.vanishingpoint.ca/

an excellent resource with maps and such.




- A.
strangePlaces 


Location: Toronto
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Re: Gearing up for drains
< Reply # 5 on 8/6/2014 5:03 AM >
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For drains, I find that hip waders are most practical. If you wanna walk fast rubber boots will get filled with water. Only in very few drains I'd go with crocs or such because even if the water may not be that dirty, its better to be covered. Good set of lights is important.
Sewers are a totally different story. You have to be in good health, (also no cuts) and realize that you going into a very nasty environment full of diseases. Chest waders and a respirator (respirator is mandatory) with carbon filter are needed, maybe even goggles to avoid splashing your eyes (happened before). Also gloves ( i actually wear an interesting combination of gloves) and take proper measures regarding all your gear after you're done. Don't go for sewers yet, try drains first.




stickbeat 


Location: Peterborough
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Re: Gearing up for drains
< Reply # 6 on 8/6/2014 5:35 AM >
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Like I said, I'd like to avoid sewers at all costs. They might look neat, but - ew. The 'gross' factor is pretty significant. Crossing through one to get to a drain proper would be awful enough. Ugh.




- A.
billgeorge 


Location: Burnaby
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Re: Gearing up for drains
< Reply # 7 on 8/6/2014 7:19 AM >
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Posted by stickbeat
This is my inspiration, but also an invaluable resource to anyone in the area:
http://www.vanishingpoint.ca/


http://www.uer.ca/...fid=1&msgid=399742





Cracked 


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Re: Gearing up for drains
< Reply # 8 on 8/6/2014 1:46 PM >
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When it rains: no drains.




Not Pr0.
Astro 

Usually naked


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Resistance is Futile

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Re: Gearing up for drains
< Reply # 9 on 8/6/2014 3:15 PM >
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Things you need [to know] for storm drains:

Flashlights, bring a few. Seriously. I carry like 5, usually. Along with a few batteries.

My phone? It never sees drains. You don't usually get signal in them, anyways. So taking them risks damaging them for literally no reason at all.

Gases? If the drain isn't moving (assuming it has water in it), it's more likely to be an issue. What you're specifically talking about (probably) is anaerobic bacteria that don't use oxygen to survive, and often release methane gases, especially when bothered. They're located in places without much airflow, moving water usually indicates airflow.

I have an aversion to wet pants. My OCD can't handle it, it's gross. So, I wear a dress and my Harley boots when draining. Waders are the common choice, though, because they keep everything dry and protected from germs or what have you

Have fun. Don't get too worked up about it. It's a drain, not the firey pits of hell that you're exploring. Once you do it, you'll realize what your draining style is and isn't and what you will and won't enjoy.


Don't Stop Me Now by astroberkman17, on Flickr

Have fun & Drain On.




[02:33:56] <Valkyre> Astro your whole life is ruled by the sentence ' life is better without clothes on'
[22:16:00] <DSomms> it was normal until astro got here
Astro: Patron Saint of Drains
rob.i.am 


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Carpe noctum

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Re: Gearing up for drains
< Reply # 10 on 8/6/2014 3:33 PM >
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I've worn hip waders. I've worn boots. I've worn running shoes. I've even worn a kilt. Clothing is unimportant; whatever you're comfortable y

The most important things are light and a decent tripod. Lots and lots of lights.




http://www.flickr.com/photos/rob666/
terapr0 


Location: Sauga City
Gender: Male
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www . tohellandback . net

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Re: Gearing up for drains
< Reply # 11 on 8/12/2014 12:06 AM >
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as others have mentioned, it really depends on the drain. I've worn everything from water shoes (cleanish storm drains) to chest waders (full on waist-deep sanitary shit sewers).

I'd avoid a respirator, even in sanitary sewers. They arent going to do anything to protect you from dangerous gases (H2S displaces oxygen and anything but an SCBA setup won't save you) and will inevitably get saturated with water vapor and simply inhibit your breathing. Perhaps an N95 paper mask to help stop shit-spray from getting into your mouth, but even that's rarely a problem.

In short:

- suitable shoes (location defendant)
- hand sanitizer (I've done almost 100 drains and I always seem to forget this at home)
- a good sturdy headlamp with fresh batteries
- at least 2 or 3 good reliable flashlights with fresh batteries (no shitty keychain LEDs, glow sticks, $5 DX lights or cell-phone flashes. spend at least $50-100 and buy a good quality brand-name light that isnt going to shit out when you're underground)
- a backpack to carry all of your stuff in. Something with lots of pockets
- cargo pants/shorts (carrying stuff in your pockets is easier than keeping it in your backpack....clean/dry places to put your bag down tend to be few and far between)
- change of batteries
- a good sturdy tripod. Just like the flashlight, spend a bit of $$$ and buy something heavy enough not to get washed away in the flow or damaged when you inevitably slip and fall on top of it.
- a sense of imagination and creativity. underground light painting is one of the most satisfying types of photography. It's always rewarding to make a stunning image from inside a dark, otherwise depressing space thats mostly devoid of interesting features.
- gloves (not needed, but often times nice to have, especially when climbing rusted out crumbling rungs caked with tampons and dirty condoms)
- properly calibrated multi-gas meter. (I don't own one myself, but if you're at all concerned about hazardous gases this is the only thing thats going to do anything to actually keep you safe. anything else is a useless placebo.)

When I first started I used to bring everything but the kitchen sink, however over the years I've gradually streamlined my kit and this is what I'd currently bring with me for any average storm/sanitary sewer. Some special locations may require additional equipment like ropes, SRT equipment, credibility props, but those are few, far between, and not something you'll need to worry about right off the bat.

No matter what you bring, do go in big drains. Just not when it rains



[last edit 8/12/2014 12:07 AM by terapr0 - edited 1 times]

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terapr0 


Location: Sauga City
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www . tohellandback . net

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Re: Gearing up for drains
< Reply # 12 on 8/12/2014 12:18 AM >
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and while it's only natural to spurn the idea of sanitary sewers when you're just starting out, if you do catch the "drain bug" (not the bloody shit kind), you'll quickly want to ramp things up and expand your horizons. While they most assuredly present additional risks/challenges, the rewards are often quite attractive. Often times, the shittier, the better









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NotBatman 


Location: MSP
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Re: Gearing up for drains
< Reply # 13 on 8/12/2014 12:05 PM >
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This is all VERY dangerous advice! No one has mentioned beer yet!!! What's wrong with you people???

Seriously, though - A few good lights, boots/waders in winter or old tennis shoes in the summer, and a few beers and you're ready to start.

If you're looking to take pictures, lighting will be your biggest hurdle. It wouldn't be a bad idea to find something reasonably accessible you can practice in and determine what sort of photo gear you'll want to run with regularly, once you've seen a few drains.

Bring a friend while you're figuring things out and no drains when it rains. For realz.




I'm a "Leave only footprints, take only pornography" kind of guy, myself.
jtan 


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Re: Gearing up for drains
< Reply # 14 on 8/14/2014 10:15 PM >
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If there's anything you want to keep dry, make sure to bring ziplock bags to put them in.




Dougo 

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Re: Gearing up for drains
< Reply # 15 on 8/22/2014 11:17 PM >
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Hip Waders aren't that hip.

You should only go in drains that you can stand up in without spilling your beer in.

Your attitude plays a huge part. This should help somewhat.




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Dougo 

Wrong account -- Look for other Doug


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Re: Gearing up for drains
< Reply # 16 on 8/22/2014 11:44 PM >
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This may be of use as well...




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Jared Kat 


Location: Colorado Springs, CO, USA
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Coming to a drain near you!

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Re: Gearing up for drains
< Reply # 17 on 9/15/2014 1:53 AM >
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I'd agree with most everyone else here, that you could go into a tunnel with the minimalistic mindset with gear if it was a simple storm drain. I've checked out some drains using just the torch on my phone, and while it's possible to enjoy the experience like that, things are a lot better if you go out and get yourself a decent headlamp and at least a couple back up torches.

On the shoes argument, I'd highly recommend going with something that you feel may have good traction. I'm not sure how common it is with other locals or municipalities, but at least where I am, somewhat steeply angled short sections of tunnels are absolutely the most slick things you'll ever encounter, covered in the moss or whatever is coating the concrete. I've been known to slip and fall quite a few times.

If your drain is small, I'd recommend going in with some sort of head protection on, this could be a bike helmet (Inconspicuous) or a hard hat (If you want to go the credibility prop route). I've been glad to have a bike helmet on when exploring those 5 foot RCP's (Round Concrete Pipes), it's saved my head from quite a few violent knocks.

If you can find drains big enough and dry enough, I've found it incredibly fun to ride bikes through the tunnels. I wouldn't exactly recommend that in RCP style tunnels, but say, a 14 foot wide by 8 foot tall arch tunnel, and well, you're promised a good time.

Either way, it really does depend on your comfort level. In my town, our sewers and our storm drains are completely separate, so I've got no problems walking through the water polluted with the standard city pollution (Oil, grass clippings, etc), though, if you'd like to avoid that, or plan on visiting your sewer system, definitely waders and whatnot.

I'd also like to make a point that I've never had an issue with air whilst draining before. In my experience, there's generally a slight wind through the tunnels coming in from inlets upstream that have a higher air pressure or whatever.

Also, a note, I've had a recent run-in with a lost dog recently in a tunnel. I'd recommend making noise as you're going through the tunnel if on your own, or keeping a conversation going if you're with a friend to scare off any stray pets or animals that would otherwise be surprised by your arrival. I'd consider myself lucky that in my instance, the dog decided not to maul us and became a short term friend on our journey.

Also, if you're looking into doing underground photography, well, make sure to find yourself a camera that allows for manual settings of the aperature, shutter speed, and preferably does long-exposure shots. I'm sure there's a much more fitting article in the photography section of the forum if you want to get into all of that though.

Anyway, I wish you the best in your ventures.




In a society that has destroyed all adventure, the only adventure left is to destroy that society
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