London's water utility is on the lookout for which of its contractors accidentally poured concrete into more than 200 feet of new underground pipe.
But the bungler's identity is only a side issue. The immediate problems, Thames Water officials say, are to:
Clean up a massive sewage backup caused by the blockage; and
Replace the new line, which is more than 12 feet underground.
Reports say the water company will have to close down a road for a month to replace the 65 meters of buried pipe.
It will take a month to dig up a new sewer main and replace more than 200 feet of pipe that have been clogged with concrete, officials say.
The gaffe came to light after a local road in the Hoxton section became flooded with sewage, news outlets reported. The sewage flow was next to a housing development.
CCTV investigations by Transport for London then spotted concrete in two sections of the sewer.
“Normally, blockages are caused by fat, oil and grease building up in the sewer," a Thames Water spokeswoman told local news outlets, "but unfortunately, in this case it’s concrete, so we can’t just jet it through."
She added, “It’s in there, and it’s set to the pipe; it means we need to remove the pipe and replace it with new ones.”
Trucks from Muck & Waste London Ltd. are hauling sewage away from the site as repairs get underway.
Who Did It?
Thames Water has launched an investigation to find the contractor responsible.
Initial speculation has focused on a piling contractor that accidentally pierced an underground structure on a nearby job last year, Construction Enquirer reported.
But the repairs come first, the Thames Water spokeswoman told the Hackney Gazette.
"They only started digging it out this week; once they get it out, we will start trying to trace it," she said.
“There are so many contractors in the area," she said. "If it was just one, it would be straight forward, but we need to examine what’s in the pipe.
"I don’t know how they manage to work it out, but apparently they do have ways and means of tracing it.”
The cost of the replacement project has not been estimated.