It’s been an interesting week watching Splurghi work their way around the poo pipes.
Christchurch’s infrastructure is steadily being replaced. In the earthquakes the sewers stretched, subsumed, self-strangled, sank and subsequently stank. The replacement of the damaged underground infrastructure is well underway and we have been excited this week as our street is now getting new poo pipes. New poo pipes! I can’t remember the last time I was this excited.
The process is bog standard, they evacuate the old pipes, push hard to get a new pipe to plop in to place, wipe and flush. Well, that’s a bit of an old fart’s view of what is undoubtedly these days a precise science, but you get the idea.
The complicated bits are things like pumping the sewage from good pipes to new pipes and bypassing the broken pipes that they then replace. Sometimes this involves the use of sewage trucks to transport stagnant effluent away to be processed and these trucks we call “Splurghi”. I admit that this is an entirely crap name based loosely on a sewage truck we saw in Italy operated by a company called Splurgio. We saw this and the name well, it just stuck.
Shortly after that we were in Venice and observed this floating Splurghi parked on a pole outside the Most Serene Republic’s Poo Palace.
Yes, even in Venice shit happens. It just involves more water.
Water is a problem too here in Christchurch as we have a very high water table and as soon as you dig more than about a metre into the ground you frequently get a damp patch, a puddle, a dribble, a flow or you strike an underground stream. Underground there is a lot of water and this causes problems when you have to dig up and replace hundreds of kilometres of pipes. In a nearby street there is a small section of excavation which has so much water flowing underground there are six reasonably sized pumps running 24/7 to deal with the water problem while they work to replace the poo pipes.
The grateful residents have been known to salute their heroes with freshly baked cookies and muffins as appreciation for the poo pipe processors but it looks as though fruit is not a big hit.
So far there has been virtually no detectable odour associated with this delicate operation and work progresses steadily. It’s all part of the repair and rebuild program that is now estimated to cost $40bn. I imagine that’s just slightly higher than the dry-cleaning bill that the good people of Dunedin faced a couple of years back when a fully loaded Splurghi exploded somewhat unexpectedly as it was being driven through the centre of town in the morning rush hour.