The Waste Water Plant, Part IV: What lies beneath?
Continuing where we left off...

Once we left the plant itself, we found that there was an active sewer conduit nearby.  I don't know if this was the immediate successor to the original system or what, but we decided to check it out.

The grate was unlocked, so we climbed on down.

I know you're thinking this must stink.  Well, actually it wasn't too bad.  For one thing, it was relatively cold.  On the aforementioned return trip to this area, the warmer weather meant you could smell this spot from quite a ways away.  On this particular day, we found it based on the sound of running water; the smell wasn't strong enough to reveal its presence from any great distance.

Incidentally, for whatever reason, sewers do not smell like you would expect (i.e., a gas station restroom).  They're unpleasant, sure, but it's more acrid than putrid.

At the bottom of a couple flights of stairs was the flow itself, and a very fast-moving one at that.

There was a pole there, and we tested the depth and found that it was only about three feet or so deep.

Finally... let's do some spelunking.
We spotted the little building on the other side of this fence on our way in.  I climbed up to the top of it...

...and found this manhole open and inviting me to find out what was down there.

I would say it's about 10' to the ledge, then another 20' to the next part.  But where do those tunnels at the bottom lead?

Well, we hadn't checked out the plant itself yet, so we put this off until afterward...

...then I ran out and bought some rope.

This is me standing on the first ledge looking up at the manhole.  Obviously jumping back up out of here wasn't possible.

And here's a look at the rest of the way down.

From here the tunnel got pretty small...

...and ended up being sealed off at the other end closest to the treatment plant.  This is likely the sealed tunnel I mentioned earlier that leads into the tower.

Those are bugs all over the wall just in case you aren't claustrophobic.

In the other direction, things got lower and lower as the tunnel eventually dead-ended, plugged up with mud.  (Yes, mud.)

Getting out was loads of fun, let me tell you. 

No one had any ascenders or anything approaching actual climbing gear, so we set up a rigging system and I helped pull the other guy out while he did the reverse for me from below.  (That sounds sexual, doesn't it?)

Yes, a lot of work not to find anything special, but any effort is worth it not to have the persistent nagging of a need to know.

Further reading:

Alexplored 3/5/06.
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