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UER Forum > Archived Rookie Forum > Bad Air in Combined Sewers? Any Experiences? (Viewed 907 times)
Urbex Cleveland 






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Bad Air in Combined Sewers? Any Experiences?
< on 11/6/2010 9:33 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Has anyone had trouble when exploring combined sewers? I mean the type with sewage & storm water.

I'm concerned about toxic gasses and low oxygen levels so I have not even come close to touching one of these. Bacteria & viruses are second to all of that.
[last edit 11/6/2010 9:33 PM by Urbex Cleveland - edited 1 times]

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Re: Bad Air in Combined Sewers? Any Experiences?
<Reply # 1 on 11/8/2010 11:44 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
never had an issue with bad air in CSO sewers before no....Generally speaking, where there's flowing water (the faster the better), there's also moving air, which helps maintain sufficient oxygen content. Of course there are instances in which this may not be true, and its entirely possible for that moving air to be contaminated by some illegal industrial connection or chemical spill, but the air is typically better than you think.
I dont find I ever totally get used to it, but the intensity of the smell does subside after a few minutes.

IMHO your best bet (other than investing in a proper gas meter) is to always travel with at least one other person and keep an eye on each other. Don't be afraid to raise the alarm if things dont feel right, and always trust your gut instinct.

$0.02

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Zombi951 


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Re: Bad Air in Combined Sewers? Any Experiences?
<Reply # 2 on 8/4/2011 4:32 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
actually I was in a drain not to long ago where the sewer must of been next to the drain because there were holes in the wall(not small pipes) and when youd walked by the holes you could smell the sewage has i got further the air smelt awful.But I went on and the drain i was in got smaller and smaller to where it was a backbreaker there the air thinned out and I started feeling sick and nauseous very quick so I gotta out of there super quick.Better safe then sorry get a respirator.

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JediMindTrixR4Kidz 


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Re: Bad Air in Combined Sewers? Any Experiences?
<Reply # 3 on 8/4/2011 7:14 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
^a respirator only helps with particulates though right? I mean methane will kill you just as quick mask or not. Best idea I've ever run across is that they sell special meters for people working in tunnels you can get a hold of that beep when it gets dangerous.

Personally I was in what was supposed to be a normal storm drain once, made it about 6 blocks in and started getting woozy.. rather than go back and risk it I just climbed up through a man hole and walked back to the start point. I later read that a city worker in the town storm trains had died from some kinda gas about a year before so I may have made a pretty damn good choice there.

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Re: Bad Air in Combined Sewers? Any Experiences?
<Reply # 4 on 8/4/2011 7:51 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Never really had an issue after five years of entering combined systems here in Montreal. Only time things can get a bit dicey is when you're walking through mucky stretches and every time you lift your foot, you're unlocking a heap of H2S. You'll smell rotten eggs right away. If it's only a matter of 50 feet or less, I'll usually solider on through it. Anything more and I'll turn around. I often worry about the accumulative effects of stirring too much of it up at once and then having to walk back through it all on the way out.

I've also never heard of any drainers having running into problems because of poor air quality. There are plenty of stories involving people freaking the fuck out because they think the air is bad. While it's often good to trust your gut, if your gut is causing you to panic over nothing, then you're putting yourself in just as much of a dangerous position.

The same thing applies to locations above ground. Experience will give you a better sense of whether or not you actually need to be concerned about something or if you're just being a big girl's blouse.

Zombi951 


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Re: Bad Air in Combined Sewers? Any Experiences?
<Reply # 5 on 8/4/2011 7:51 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Posted by JediMindTrixR4Kidz
^a respirator only helps with particulates though right? I mean methane will kill you just as quick mask or not. Best idea I've ever run across is that they sell special meters for people working in tunnels you can get a hold of that beep when it gets dangerous.

Personally I was in what was supposed to be a normal storm drain once, made it about 6 blocks in and started getting woozy.. rather than go back and risk it I just climbed up through a man hole and walked back to the start point. I later read that a city worker in the town storm trains had died from some kinda gas about a year before so I may have made a pretty damn good choice there.


Mmm good call I no they do have different kinda of respirators out there but not to savy(knowledegable) on any to tell ya the truth.Also you can kinda can tell where the gas build ups maybe in,dense very thin air sections,some may even have a white mist fog type build up from what ive read here on the forums thin again one can never be to sure.Those meters are a good idea I no they have them pretty cheap at harbor fright tools in my area or any tool shop for that fact.

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MrSivalls 

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Re: Bad Air in Combined Sewers? Any Experiences?
<Reply # 6 on 8/7/2011 12:45 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
HS2 can drop you dead in your tracks. If you know it's present, leave.
One of the worst of the poisonous gasses, it has claimed many lives.
Any enclosed space with no free flowing ventilation has the potential to become a death trap.

Your security measures were inadequate.
How unfortunate for you.
MindHacker 


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Re: Bad Air in Combined Sewers? Any Experiences?
<Reply # 7 on 8/7/2011 2:30 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Methane's harmless, the only worry is if you're ONLY breathing methane. I had a similar experience in a cave with low oxygen levels... I was thinking "wow, i must be out of shape, I'm more tired by crawling than I remember." So as long as you know what your looking for, you'll notice it.

H2S you'll smell at 1/400th the dangerous dose, so no worries about it sneaking up on you. If it just smells like poo, no worries. If it smells like rotten eggs / natural gas, GTFO. Especially because if it's strong you'll only smell it for a few breaths until it numbs the smell receptors for it.

Drains are usually fine because it's possible for the gasses to flow out the same way all the water is flowing out (or in - methane is lighter-than-air).





"That's just my opinion. I would, however, advocate for explosive breaching, since speed and looking cool are both concerns in my job."-Wilkinshire
MrSivalls 

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Re: Bad Air in Combined Sewers? Any Experiences?
<Reply # 8 on 8/7/2011 4:34 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Posted by MindHacker
Methane's harmless, the only worry is if you're ONLY breathing methane. I had a similar experience in a cave with low oxygen levels... I was thinking "wow, i must be out of shape, I'm more tired by crawling than I remember." So as long as you know what your looking for, you'll notice it.

H2S you'll smell at 1/400th the dangerous dose, so no worries about it sneaking up on you. If it just smells like poo, no worries. If it smells like rotten eggs / natural gas, GTFO. Especially because if it's strong you'll only smell it for a few breaths until it numbs the smell receptors for it.

Drains are usually fine because it's possible for the gasses to flow out the same way all the water is flowing out (or in - methane is lighter-than-air).






That's way over simplified view and dangerous. O2 can be displaced by methane, CO2, etc and can cause a one breath blackout, then death by asphyxiation.

HS2 is one of the most insidious of the poison gases, it's earned that reputation by piling up the bodies. Although respiratory paralysis may be immediate, it can also be delayed up to 72 hours.

* 0.00047 ppm is the recognition threshold, the concentration at which 50% of humans can detect the characteristic odor of hydrogen sulfide,[14] normally described as resembling "a rotten egg".
* Less than 10 ppm has an exposure limit of 8 hours per day.
* 10–20 ppm is the borderline concentration for eye irritation.
* 50–100 ppm leads to eye damage.
* At 100–150 ppm the olfactory nerve is paralyzed after a few inhalations, and the sense of smell disappears, often together with awareness of danger.[15][16]
* 320–530 ppm leads to pulmonary edema with the possibility of death.
* 530–1000 ppm causes strong stimulation of the central nervous system and rapid breathing, leading to loss of breathing.
* 800 ppm is the lethal concentration for 50% of humans for 5 minutes exposure (LC50).
* Concentrations over 1000 ppm cause immediate collapse with loss of breathing, even after inhalation of a single breath.

No ventilation means death trap. Even ventilation may not be enough as some gasses are heavier than air, and some as in the case of HS2, are very toxic even in small amounts.

Your security measures were inadequate.
How unfortunate for you.
dsankt 


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Re: Bad Air in Combined Sewers? Any Experiences?
<Reply # 9 on 8/7/2011 4:36 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
yeah, 4 of out of 5 people on a trip under london came down the following week with gastroenteritis.

Good times

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MindHacker 


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Re: Bad Air in Combined Sewers? Any Experiences?
<Reply # 10 on 8/8/2011 3:09 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Posted by MrSivalls


That's way over simplified view and dangerous. O2 can be displaced by methane, CO2, etc and can cause a one breath blackout, then death by asphyxiation.

HS2 is one of the most insidious of the poison gases, it's earned that reputation by piling up the bodies. Although respiratory paralysis may be immediate, it can also be delayed up to 72 hours.

* 0.00047 ppm is the recognition threshold, the concentration at which 50% of humans can detect the characteristic odor of hydrogen sulfide,[14] normally described as resembling "a rotten egg".
* Less than 10 ppm has an exposure limit of 8 hours per day.
* 10–20 ppm is the borderline concentration for eye irritation.
* 50–100 ppm leads to eye damage.
* At 100–150 ppm the olfactory nerve is paralyzed after a few inhalations, and the sense of smell disappears, often together with awareness of danger.[15][16]
* 320–530 ppm leads to pulmonary edema with the possibility of death.
* 530–1000 ppm causes strong stimulation of the central nervous system and rapid breathing, leading to loss of breathing.
* 800 ppm is the lethal concentration for 50% of humans for 5 minutes exposure (LC50).
* Concentrations over 1000 ppm cause immediate collapse with loss of breathing, even after inhalation of a single breath.

No ventilation means death trap. Even ventilation may not be enough as some gasses are heavier than air, and some as in the case of HS2, are very toxic even in small amounts.


Your view of "no ventilation means death" is also oversimplified. Oversimplification is how the human mind works. I was talking about drains, not pits, and CSO, not dedicated sanitary sewers. I suppose if my nose was a ppm-meter your ability to parrot wikipedia would be super-useful.



"That's just my opinion. I would, however, advocate for explosive breaching, since speed and looking cool are both concerns in my job."-Wilkinshire
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Re: Bad Air in Combined Sewers? Any Experiences?
<Reply # 11 on 8/8/2011 3:36 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Do like they use to do bring a canary in a cage if the canary dies then get out out fast, thats what they used to do before they had all the special meters to measure gasses in the air.

MrSivalls 

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Re: Bad Air in Combined Sewers? Any Experiences?
<Reply # 12 on 8/8/2011 1:37 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Posted by MindHacker


Your view of "no ventilation means death" is also oversimplified. Oversimplification is how the human mind works. I was talking about drains, not pits, and CSO, not dedicated sanitary sewers. I suppose if my nose was a ppm-meter your ability to parrot wikipedia would be super-useful.



HS2 can be found -anywhere- the proper conditions exist, so don't think that makes drains "safe".

I have training for working in SH2 areas and for using SCBA in these environments. Other the a warning this gas may be present, your nose is useless in determining air Q. Poison gas and O2 meters are needed to make a proper accession if the area is safe to enter without SCBA.
Yes it is over simplified because few here have that gear. Bare minimum is a HS2 meter.
The Wiki quote is accurate.
Here's what Medscape says in part:
United States

According to the 2007 Annual Report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers' National Poison Data System, 1134 single exposures and 13 fatal outcomes were reported.[1]

It is very important to realize that 25% of fatalities usually involve rescuers, professionals, or bystanders.[2]
Mortality/Morbidity
*
Low-level exposures of hydrogen sulfide usually produce local eye and mucous membrane irritation, while high-level exposures rapidly produce fatal systemic toxicity.
*
Exposures of 700-800 ppm or greater can cause loss of consciousness and cardiopulmonary arrest.

As already stated, you risk not only your life, but that of your would be rescuers. 25% of those killed in 2007 were rescuers who were not prepared to deal with this deadly gas. If you go into cardiopulmonary arrest from HS2, even immediate CPR may not revive you, and effects can be delayed. One breathe can kill. There are more insidious poison gases then this one, but it's bad enough that it's been used as a war gas.


Bare minimum I would have for being around it is a HS2 meter worn at chest level.
[last edit 8/8/2011 1:48 PM by MrSivalls - edited 1 times]

Your security measures were inadequate.
How unfortunate for you.
MindHacker 


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Re: Bad Air in Combined Sewers? Any Experiences?
<Reply # 13 on 8/8/2011 1:58 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
I didn't realize you were a professional. Could you tell us about your personal experiences with air quality?

"That's just my opinion. I would, however, advocate for explosive breaching, since speed and looking cool are both concerns in my job."-Wilkinshire
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Re: Bad Air in Combined Sewers? Any Experiences?
<Reply # 14 on 8/8/2011 3:08 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
An inexpensive yet reliable alternative to gas meters is the tried-and-true flame safety lamp:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safety_lamp

I did some deep-underground exploring last winter and picked one of these up on eBay for about $50.

Predominantly used by coal miners prior to the advent of digital gas detectors, it features a contained candle flame (that will not ignite methane). When the flame gets tall, it's registering methane or other flammable gasses. Too short and it's registering C02 or other oxygen-deprived gasses. When there's oxygen trouble, you can read the flame to locate breathable pockets of air - often in a layer between methane and C02.

Although I would not recommend this as your only safety instrument - it beats the hell out of having nothing.

MrSivalls 

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Re: Bad Air in Combined Sewers? Any Experiences?
<Reply # 15 on 8/8/2011 6:59 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Posted by MindHacker
I didn't realize you were a professional. Could you tell us about your personal experiences with air quality?


Oil wells and equipment. Lots of sad stories around here about those who underestimated HS2 in confined spaces, or even in the open.

Your security measures were inadequate.
How unfortunate for you.
MrSivalls 

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Re: Bad Air in Combined Sewers? Any Experiences?
<Reply # 16 on 8/8/2011 7:05 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Posted by fiftyone_eggs
An inexpensive yet reliable alternative to gas meters is the tried-and-true flame safety lamp:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safety_lamp

I did some deep-underground exploring last winter and picked one of these up on eBay for about $50.

Predominantly used by coal miners prior to the advent of digital gas detectors, it features a contained candle flame (that will not ignite methane). When the flame gets tall, it's registering methane or other flammable gasses. Too short and it's registering C02 or other oxygen-deprived gasses. When there's oxygen trouble, you can read the flame to locate breathable pockets of air - often in a layer between methane and C02.

Although I would not recommend this as your only safety instrument - it beats the hell out of having nothing.


That's a plan, and a hell of a lot better than dumb luck.
Lack of O2 and methane are big dangers in confined spaces. Won't be sufficient to detect lethal HS2 amounts though.
HS2 meters aren't that pricey anymore.

Your security measures were inadequate.
How unfortunate for you.
MindHacker 


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Re: Bad Air in Combined Sewers? Any Experiences?
<Reply # 17 on 8/9/2011 6:15 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Posted by MrSivalls
HS2


"That's just my opinion. I would, however, advocate for explosive breaching, since speed and looking cool are both concerns in my job."-Wilkinshire
MrSivalls 

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Re: Bad Air in Combined Sewers? Any Experiences?
<Reply # 18 on 8/9/2011 7:49 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Posted by MindHacker



H2S My bad.

Your security measures were inadequate.
How unfortunate for you.
UER Forum > Archived Rookie Forum > Bad Air in Combined Sewers? Any Experiences? (Viewed 907 times)



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