Whenever I walk by any works or repairs being done underground, that quick glimpse is enough to make me think about those winding pipes beneath us. It’s weird to think that every time you have a shower or do the washing up you are connected to a system that runs across your town, city, even your country.
High pressure water, sewage, and God knows what else flow through pipes big and small. Frankly, it’s a miracle that things run smoothly at all, let alone most of the time. If one calculation is a bit off-mark then all kinds of chaos can ensue. With all that pressure building, and the general wear and tear caused by the transported matter, it’s a wonder nothing catastrophic happens.
So, as if to remind us of the power of the water networks that run beneath us at all times, an explosion of one of these pipes occurred in Ukraine earlier this week. On Monday May 29, unsuspecting Ukrainians were faced with a terrifying noise, a sudden explosion and an awful mess to clean up afterwards.
An underground pipe in Kyiv, Ukraine, burst, breaking through the cement above it and causing havoc in the surrounding area. The force of the explosion was so powerful that it created a mushroom of asphalt, flinging debris and muddy water six stories high.
You can see one woman walking by, just out of the vicinity of the explosion. Then, if you look carefully, one dumpster starts to tremble slightly, before rising from the ground. The asphalt beneath it slowly expands upwards, its growth accelerating until the earth cracks from the pressure.
The bubble of cement, earth and whatever else the pipe was carrying bursts, flinging itself in all directions and destroying the nearby cars. The debris also reaches up to the CCTV camera, smashing the windows even at the top of the building. It’s unclear whether the woman in the background was affected by the blast or not from the video.
The incident that left a crater six metres wide was reportedly caused by hydraulic testing carried out on the old pipes. City officials stated that the burst happened on a section of the communal pipe line that had been in use for 37 years. Thankfully, no one was injured by the blast, despite it happening in a fairly populated area.
Fortunately the pipe, which normally holds scalding hot water, was filled only with cold water when it burst. The high-pressure pipes usually take hot water from central heating plants, and funnel it into housing in the area. The city had been carrying out tests that day, which is why the water was not heated as usual.
City officials have confirmed that compensation will be paid to any residents in the area who were affected by the blast. Luckily, no one has been reported as hurt by the explosion, despite the fact that property such as cars and windows were destroyed.