Yorkshire Water mounted a major emergency operation on Monday to replace 15m of sewer in Pudsey, near Leeds after a large volume of wet concrete was illegally poured into it.
The company said this is the biggest blockage of its kind that it has dealt with. The concrete hardened in the 300mm diameter pipe, causing significant blockages and restricting flow by 80% in some places.
Local contractor Peter Duffy began digging up the full 15m stretch of sewer on Monday, and will replace it in an operation expected to last four weeks. A 170m stretch of road will be closed while work is done. The sewer runs underneath the road.
Yorkshire Water said it had already tried and failed to remove the blockage using high pressure water jetting, a waste cutter and specialist concrete equipment.
Excavation ‘only option’
Excavating and replacing the pipe is the only way left to resolve the problem, a Yorkshire Water spokesman said.
“For someone to pour such a huge quantity of concrete into the sewer is quite simply an act of vandalism, and one that has already had awful consequences for several local property owners,” said Yorkshire Water.
“We have never seen anything like this and simply can’t believe someone would be so irresponsible as to pour such a huge volume of concrete down a drain.
“Our priority now is to get this blockage removed as quickly as possible.”
The rogue concrete was discovered when Yorkshire Water carried out a CCTV inspection after local properties’ basements were flooded by sewage.