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United Utilities employ unusual methods to unblock sewer

The emergency repairs are underway into the unblocking of a sewer in Urmston, with the engineers from water company United Utilities making use of an uncommon tunnelling technique to dig their way in.

As the drainage team begin the work to replace a large pipe beneath Flixton Road which had been filled in with concrete, engineers have positioned wooden supports enabling them to dig beneath a labyrinth of important cables and pipes placed above the sewer pipe.

United Utilities wastewater manager, Ian Fullalove, said:

“This is an extremely delicate operation. We cannot risk damaging any of the essential water, gas, electricity and phone lines which are blocking our access to the sewer, so we are having to go underneath them.

“We have tried to remove the concrete from inside the sewer using a cutting device, but it’s such a tough material – filling more than 25m of the pipe – that progress was too slow. What we are doing now is like a cross between brain surgery and The Great Escape.”

The sewer, which is 7 metres in depth, will need to be taken out by each section and replaced.

It is expected that the repair work will continue well into April, with regular updates provided to residents and local businesses along the way.