From food waste to sanitary products; there are a number of items we all know shouldn’t be disposed of down the drain. These items are regular finds for professional drain cleaners, but every now and then something a little bit more unusual turns up, begging a number of questions as to how (and why) it ended up in the drainage system…
We reveal the ten oddest things (including jewellery, vehicles, living creatures and more!) found in drain and sewer works.
Be warned: you may be a little shocked(!)
Southend street cleaner Arron Large was still being commended for his honesty after handing in a £21,000 Rolex watch he’d found in a drain at the entrance to Chalkwell Railway Station, when he discovered three more highly expensive timepieces a couple of days later! Large handed in the haul – consisting of two Rolexes, a Franck Muller and an Omega – to the local authorities, and was last seen waiting out the 30 days required for someone to prove ownership of them before he could claim their £60,000 value.
Although quite a common find in drains, it’s still a mystery as to how so many sets of false teeth end up in sewers up and down the country. Even more interestingly, however, one utility provider has started up a service in an attempt to match sets of dentures with their owners. All false teeth recovered from Severn Trent’s sewers now have their pictures online to be viewed by those searching for lost sets, who can then contact the company should they recognise their own.
It might sound like something out of a bad horror movie, but an alligator turning up in drains and sewers is a surprisingly regular occurrence in some American states. CCTV survey work of a Mississippi drain following Hurricane Katrina showed an alligator in amongst the damage. The animal was later rescued by professionals, but not until it had bitten through the camera’s cabling!
Further down the coast, another ‘gator was found in a drain in Tampa, Florida, measuring an astounding 18 feet in length!
Sticking with the animal theme; back in 2008, two cows carried out a daring escape from a French abattoir. One of the animals later turned up in a nearby drain, where it was rescued (presumably not using the ladder shown in the picture!). Such was the nature of the escape, that abattoir workers let the cow live out the rest of its days in relative happiness in a field.
Under the streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil, lies a network of sewers and subterranean water networks bearing the abstract graffiti of Zezão – a local street artist. During a period of dark depression in the early ‘90s, Zezão took to the underground to use his painting as a form of therapy; working alone and in a socio-politically charged style. His signature calligraphy represents a water source, reflecting his choice of working environment.
Although not technically “discovered” in a drain, the underground flood tunnel network below the glittering streets of Las Vegas is home to an estimated 1,000 homeless people suffering from gambling, drug or alcohol addiction, sheltering from the soaring desert temperatures in the daytime and the below freezing ones at night. The subject of many a documentary, these communities are sadly prevalent across many major American cities.