We didn't think it was necessary to say "don't pour concrete down the drain" but apparently it is, because some deeply unwise individuals have been doing exactly that, and caused a massive problem for everyone.
London's Thames Water has found a record-breaking "concreteberg" 100 metres long and weighing 105 tonnes underneath Islington. That's as heavy as a blue whale, and it's plugging up the sewers just as effectively.
The "industrial amount" of cement has set hard and is causing problems in three separate sewers, where it's attached itself to the Victorian brickwork. The only way to get rid of it is for Thames Water to go down there with jackhammer pneumatic drills and high-pressure jets and just chip away at it until it's gone. This will apparently take at least two months and will screw up the already-horrendous traffic around Goswell Road in Islington.
The company will also have to have tankers at the ready to pump out waste and make sure no one gets flooded with sewage. Delightful.
Thames Water points out that the cost of fixing this completely unnecessary problem could have been spent on "investing in the network and helping customers in vulnerable circumstances."
Again -- why would you do this?
Alex Saunders, operations manager for Thames Water, comments exasperatedly:
"Normally blockages are caused by fat, oil and wet wipes building up in the sewer but unfortunately in this case it’s rock-hard concrete. It’s in there and set to the Victorian brickwork, so we need to chip away at it to get it removed.
This is not the first time damage has been caused by people pouring concrete into our sewers but it’s certainly the worst we’ve seen. It’s very frustrating and takes a great amount of time and effort to resolve. We’re now doing everything we can to deal with it as quickly as possible, making sure our customers don’t have to suffer because of this mindless abuse of our network."
The company has launched an investigation to find out who put the concrete there and try to get some of the money back. In the meantime, let's all try to stop putting things down the drains that shouldn't be there, yes? Get that through your concrete skulls, polluters.