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Just mousing around

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Wastewater is never a pleasant subject but for the mice of Christchurch some of the earthquake damaged pipes have apparently become their favourite place to hang out.

During a routine camera investigation of an Exeter Street pipe in Lyttelton, SCIRT’s Fulton Hogan delivery team bumped into this little adorable rodent. The mouse had settled quite comfortably inside the damaged wastewater pipe.  

For Fulton Hogan Project Manager, Christo Heyns it was a bit of a surprise when watching the CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) camera. With a cheeky smile he says: “We tried to send a cat down the pipe but it was too smelly”.

The inside of an underground pipe is not normally a home for mice however the Canterbury earthquake’s damaged many pipes within the wastewater system. Christo Heyns: “Because of cracks in the system rocks, dirt, mice and rats have been able to find their way into the pipes.We call this ground infiltration”.

More than 1000 kilometres of wastewater pipes have already been videoed since the SCIRT programme first launched in 2011.  That’s the equivalent of driving from Lyttelton to Christchurch Airport 44 times. An additional 650 kilometres of storm water pipes have also been surveyed.

SCIRT uses CCTV cameras mounted on wheeled buggies to discover and assess any pipe damage up to 200 meters into a pipe opening. The specialist crew controls the buggies through the pipes from a van. The entire journey is recorded and is later analysed by SCIRT engineers.

Once any repairs have been carried out the process is repeated to make sure the pipe has been successfully repaired and the wastewater is once again flowing smoothly. Our tough little creature in the picture will then have to find a new place to burrow.

Published: 28 January 2016