Finding unwelcome blockages in sewers is all in a day’s work for staff at Wessex Water, UK, but their experienced engineers were surprised to come face-to-face with something rather ‘fowl’ during a routine investigation.
Wessex's Environment & Flooding Protection team was using a robotic camera to survey a sewer near Frenchay in South Gloucestershire when their technicians got more than they bargained for. As the equipment remotely negotiated its way through the pipe, which carries rainwater underground, it intercepted a lone duck waddling around inside.
The avian intruder, who was believed to be on the hunt for algae to eat, was spotted offering a quizzical look straight down the lens before retreating, having apparently wandered into the pipe from a nearby access point.
The Wessex Water team made sure their new feathered friend could safely leave the pipe unharmed and continue on its way.
"Our survey teams have come across a variety of blockages when regularly inspecting our foul and rainwater sewers – but this was one of the more unusual ones."
"Our survey teams have come across a variety of blockages when regularly inspecting our foul and rainwater sewers – but this was one of the more unusual ones," said a Wessex Water spokesperson.
“It’s often masses of wet wipes that are discovered, which cause blockages that can put homes and the environment at risk of pollution. In this case, however, it was more of a moving impediment and, thankfully, our team were able to help the duck back above ground safely and none the worse for her escapade.’’
This is far from the first time an animal has been unexpectedly found in a sewer. Last year workers from another UK water company successfully rescued a trapped foal from a drainage tunnel, reuniting it with its mother.
The incident highlights the importance of regularly inspecting sewers to prevent blockages that can harm the environment.