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meralgia

Legal to place a cache in a stormwater runoff drain?

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A year or so back a couple of cachers in Europe drowned while searching for a cache in a stormwater drain. A wall of water from a storm some distance away caught them unawares and they couldn't escape in time. So no, not a good place to put a cache.

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I follow OSHA's definition, to them a storm runoff system is one kind of a sewer system, the other being domestic sewage. Some sewer systems are a combination of both. And, there can be hazardous waste in a storm runoff system, all of that oil, gas and diesel runoff from streets is one example. If vents are blocked, there can be hazardous gas buildup, even in storm runoff system.

 

I agree with the confusion factor. I had though storm runoff and sewer systems as different. I changed my mind after my confined spaces before my training. 

 

 

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Here in Canberra, Stormwater and Drainage are separate systems, as I would imagine in all, or most of Australia. However, sometimes houses, etc get plumbed into the wrong system. The local authority here has at times put smoke into the stormwater system and then looked for the smoke coming out of the wrong pipes. Older houses often have a ventilation pipe on the sewer system and if this had been plumbed into the stormwater (illegal) smoke would have been emitted. I'm not sure if newer houses always have this pipe. So, in theory, sewage is dirty and stormwater 'clean', but in action stormwater will pick up pollutants that are lying about. I guess different parts of the stormwater system would vary depending where it is, and where the water comes from that runs into it.

 

I copied this following from a plumbing site:

Sewer Drainage (they should have added toilet too)
The sewer drainage in your home is the system of underground pipes that carries your waste and sewerage from your kitchen, bathrooms, laundry, sinks or other plumbing components in your home. It is then drained through to respective waste treatment plants where waste is then discharged into our waterways.

Stormwater Drainage
Stormwater drainage is any water which rains off a site due to rainfall. So, when we are talking about the stormwater drainage in your home, we are referring to stormwater as any rain which runs off your roofs, driveways, roads or pathways. This water then runs directly into our waterways and does not get filtered in the process.

 

I have done a few stormwater caches. Except for the shortest ones, always with company. It has to be dry weather, no rain forecast and no rain for some time previously. I took the photograph when part of a group underground finding a cache. Every now and then stormwater pipes have an opening above, and people were also following above ground for safety. I took the photograph during a group underground stormwater adventure. We walked in that pipe about a kilometre underground.

Stormwater 1.jpg

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First off why place a geocache in a storm sewer? Here in Minnesota it is a crminal offense to trespass into one.

I have seen and found some at the curb drain grid hanging on string or magnetic inside up top. But if you remove man hole cover or curb grill you are in for a world of hurt when cops come. And yes some people have been arrested here for trespassing in the sewer. It does not matter storm water or sanitary sewer.

Stay out. 

 

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1 hour ago, Mn-treker said:

man hole cover or curb grill

Often it's just a matter of walking in - no grills or covers - and the space can be quite large. Some stormwater goes through open channels too (top photo). The 2nd and 3rd photos are of the same entrance, viewed from each direction.

Graffiti 1.jpg

Underground 1.jpg

Underground 5.jpg

Underground Canberra 16.jpg

Edited by Goldenwattle
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I occasionally see caches in storm drains, always the same: bison tube hanging on monofilament line that is tied around part of the grate. They are reeled in by hand.

 

Like an LPC, it was kind of neat the first time, less so after that. The logs are often wet and I would expect a high loss rate from the line coming loose. Also, like a LPC they're usually in urban parking lots.

 

I've seen one cache that used UV ink numbers in drainage pipes. The area is bone dry in the winter and you can see from one end of the pipe to the other, but the pipes are a bit small for comfortable access unless you're also small (vertically or horizontally).

 

I've heard of some Fear Factor caches in FL that make use of culverts. 

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39 minutes ago, JL_HSTRE said:

the pipes are a bit small for comfortable access unless you're also small (vertically or horizontally)

One of the sections of a multi I've done in stormwater pipes involves crawling out the last section on hands and knees over mud. I let someone else in the group enjoy that section. But I did wade through the water section, bypassing the dumped shopping trolleys. Underground; how do they make it there 😮!

Edited by Goldenwattle

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I hate sewer/culvert caches.  People around here really seem to enjoy them, but I just think they are a bad idea all around.  Dangerous, gross and the fact that they are underground basically means that accurate coordinates are difficult, if not impossible, to obtain.  

I've gone for two culvert caches.  One passed under a wide roadway, but at an angle, so the tunnel was quite long.  The other was very tight for me (I'm 6'-2" tall).

There was one stormwater drain cache I went for and, after that, I swore off any caches that were in a storm drain or culvert.  This one involved pulling off a manhole cover and climbing down a short iron-rung ladder into a brick and concrete vault where the ammo box was chained.  I got down alright, but coming up was tricky and I slipped and almost smacked my skull against the rear wall (caught myself just in time).  I realized just how stupid the very concept of such a cache hide was...and how even if I had someone with me at the time, it could have been a major issue if I'd injured myself.  I don't even want to think about accidental death in such a scenario...which was all too possible.  In the end, I just concluded there is no good reason to hide a cache in such a place and that people who enjoy going after them can have their strange type of fun without me being involved.

Edited by J Grouchy
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There are a number of cache styles I probably wouldn't go for. Many people would.  IMO, if it's not illegal, then the 'safety' factor is entirely subjective. I may not go for some, but I wouldn't berate people who place them - they provide good fun for people who do them safely and skillfully - but anyone who does a cache like that without proper consideration, the blame can't be put on the CO (all things being equal) if something goes wrong, especially if caution is recommended and disclaimed. That's why we have ratings and attributes. Don't do anything stupid. To some people, climbing a rock face is stupid. To others, it's a lifestyle.  Perfectly valid for a geocache. If it's legal, then hopefully all involved are doing so with a sober mind, proper awareness, sufficient preparation, and proceeding with appropriate caution.  Personally, that's as far as I'll take any 'controversy' about caches I may not do myself.  Heck, on the positive end of the scale, it's a potential opportunity to learn from someone with the skills and try a new experience, safely, if I want.

If ya don't want to do it or don't feel safe doing it, then don't do it; not every cache has to be found (as we all know :)). Just don't entice people to do something illegal.

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