To my knees

I have been up to raw sewerage to my knees and I can confidently say that I do not enjoy it. Sewage itself isnt so bad once you adjust to the idea of what it really is. In reality sewage is 90% soapy water from washing machines, sinks and bathtubs. The actual fecal content is really pretty low. What you have is a kind of greyish, brownish greenish concoction that has a strange solventy smell to it. Unpleasant sure, but certainly tolerable.

We were in an 80 year old tunnel below Montreal, black cement that swallowed flashlight beams like smoke and this torrential roar of effluence rushing past our feet. It was a big pipe, an old pipe, we saw small sections of blue and yellow brick. Cool. But ultimately, it wasnt that pleasant. You see oppressive darkness and sewage is ok, but its the mist that you have to think about.

For all the liquid pouring past your rubberized leg armour there is an associated mist or spray, this airborne cologne that truly deserved the title eau de toilete. Sidepipes here and there and upstream where the tunnel finally splits into two collectors the sewage pummels down dropshafts, shit waterfalls if you will resulting in an ever present mist composed of everything you can dare imagine.

Seeing these thundrous chunder pools helped to dispel any misconceptions I had of clenliness. I mean the near non-existence of floaties certainly had more to do with the punneling action of these drops than an actual lack of chunks of shit. It was all just so thoroughly blended and pulverized that only the most robust coilers could have survived. And this blend of sewer puree was exactly what was being slowly deposited on my clothes and skin, leaving a clammy sensation on everything, and woe what was entering my precious lungs.

Sewering is okay if youre prepared for all that, and you also keep one final thing in mind. If you see something float by, dont let your gaze linger. It is human nature to track movement as our hunter ancestors did, but dont. You certainly dont want to hunt anything that floats by down here be it toilet paper or something inconceivably worse.



  1. ForgottenPA · September 10, 2007

    Loved the writing on this one. Draining/sewering isn’t really my thing, glad to see I’m not alone.

  2. Air33 · November 23, 2007

    I don’t think I’d ever try a sewer. Its exactly the though of what’s in the air, and not what’s floating by that would worry me.

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