Unintentional sewer inspection
July 13, 2009

A 15-year-old girl fell into a New York City sewer last week when she encountered an open manhole while sending text messages from her cell phone. There's obviously some blame to be shared between the city workers who failed to block off the open manhole and the teenager herself for walking so distractedly, but the fact is that she was quite lucky the sewer was shallow and that others were nearby to rescue her. Sewer entries are extremely hazardous due to the buildup of toxic gases like hydrogen sulfide and carbon monoxide, which can kill almost instantly. Confined-space entry is a hazard closely related to the wastewater industry, which is why we are strong advocates of toxic-gas detection equipment inside any space that could potentially accumulate toxic gases. We are even more committed to promoting the use of above-ground pumping stations anywhere conditions will allow, since above-ground stations are by their nature vastly safer than below-ground stations.

July 2009
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last revised July 2009