Exploring the Storm Water Drain System




Introduction: Exploring the Storm Water Drain System

About: I'm back!

At the elementary school close to my house, there is a storm water drain outlet. My friends and have gone in there multiple times, and each time is better than the last. We discovered numerous things, some were interesting and some made us fear the drain even more. The system extends for over 1/4 mile, running beneath the school and surrounding neighborhood. You will here me reference this passageway as "the system" multiple times. So bear with me, and let me show you this amazing journey that me, Higgs Boson, and out other friend enjoyed so much. It is amazing what is under your feet, that most people will never know about.

Step 1: What We Discovered

When we were in there, we saw alot of grafity. We didn't pay much attention to most of it, until we saw that there was a hemp leaf spraypainted on the wall, with the words "cash for flame" beneath. Marijuana is illegal were I live, so this is seriously strange activity. My friend and I once tried to go in, but where stopped by a large man with a dog. We ran home. I never expected the tunnels to extend as far as they do, and I certianly never expected to find such strange tunnels. We found round rooms, large and small tunnels alike, and a 2 level drainage area. The ladders going to the manhole covers varied in length from 10 feet to over 25 feet as we went deeper into the tunnel. It was pitch black without the light. Numerous smaller tunnels branch off of the main tunnel, most of them too small to it through.

Step 2: Materials

You need light. Alot of light. We used a heavy duty LED camping flashlight, after we learned that cell phones were not sufficent. As i said on the previous slide, I have witnessed suspicous activity in there so I ALWAYS bring a large knife in there with me. We need jackets because the temperature drops considerably as you enter the tunnels. Later we realized that you could go in with no lights.  

Step 3: Map of the System

Here I post a map of the system. (a couple actually.) Some will be more accurate than others.

-the first was made using "Paint" on my computer.
-the one in the notebook was drawn before we ever reached the end. The red that i drew in completed the map.
-the last one is the most accurate, that I just drew.

Step 4: List of the Areas

          -I can stand here (I'm 5'6''). This marks the beginning of the system.
-First main room
          -Look at next slide
-First tunnel leading off
          -A small tunnel leading off right from the main room.
-Manhole tunnel
          -I have to slightly duck here. There are numerous manholes feeding into this tunnel.
-Dual level room
          -Look at next slide.
-Entry to small tunnels
          -The tunnel size changes dramatically here. So does the direction of the tunnel.
-Small tunnels
          -The small tunnels are painful for me to go through. I have to kind of crawl-hop.
-Circular room
          -Look at next slide. (connects small tunnels)
-End Stretch
          -Yet more small tunnels.
-The End
          -The end of the system. A real letdown actually. (look at next slide.)

Step 5: Specific Places

Here I will list some of the specefic places and give you some information.

-First main room
          - this room begins right as you enter the system.
-Various manhole covers
          - these range in height from 10 feet and under to over 25 feet above you.
-Dual level area
          - this area is where a drainage opening (from a road) goes into the water system.
-Circular room
          -this room in in the final stretch of the system. the tunnels that feed into it have different elevations.
-The End
          -the entire system ends is a simple water drainage opening (from a road). It was rather dissapoining.

Step 6: Pictures Part I

Here are the pictures of the entry, the first main room, and the first tunnel leading off.

Step 7: Pictures Part II

Here are pictures of the manhole tunnel and the dual level room.

Step 8: Pictures Part III

 The short tunnels kind of suck to go into, so sadly there are no pictures of them or the circular rooms.

Step 9: Now You Do It!

You can do this in any storm water tunnel system near you, that you can fit in of course. Be careful, and always go in with a friend and prepared. Expect the unexpected, and remember, cell phones don't work underground. Be safe, and don't make any stupid decisions.

Step 10: Extra!

I figured I would add this on to the origional instructable. A few days ago, my friend and I went into the tunnel again. When we came back out, I noticed a dead snake in the water. I had no idea what species it was, because of its strange coloration and body shape. I took it out with a stick, only to discover it was a small rattlesnake, with its head cut off (presumably by a human). I found this a bit scary because it is right in a suburban neighborhood, and I have been catching snakes there my entire life. We cut off the rattle, and I took it home. Although you cannot tell the snakes age from the size of its rattle, you can tell that this was a rather young (2-3 years) snake. It definetly makes me want to take a closer look when I catch snakes from now on... (sorry for the terrible picture quality, I took them on my phone, and then photographed my phone with a camera.)



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    16 Discussions

    PLZ READ THIS, IT IS VERY IMPORTANT: I know the name of that drain, in fact, I have been in it myself. It is called Reed. Reed Drain. And I will give you guys a tip of advice. The drain has a massive hole in it at some point. And I don't mean a hole in the floor going to another drain, I MEAN A HOLE IN THE FLOOR THAT GOES STRAIGHT DOWN. Literally, I had a rock with me, and I dropped it. it took 6 seconds before I heard it hit the bottom, and you know a rock travels 9.1m every second it falls. Be careful of that hole drainers. I have never been down it myself, but Ive looked down into it and seen with a torch, and its a complex of like 8 drains at the very bottom. If you fall from where you were, you can't get back up, the only option is one of the drains, and all 8 of them are massively high and probably are for the sewer. They are about 70m underground if u want to know. Just be careful of the hole. why? because you don't see it. Like I said, its on the cement floor of the drain, and you don't see it coming. Always take a torch and rope with you whenever you go in Reed Drain, I advise.

    I have been inside that drain before. And I know its name. Its called "Reed". Reed drain. Keep exploring fellows drainers, I will probably come across you in Reed Drain one day! (No, I wasnt the man with a dog) I am the same age as you

    What you are doing is called draining . It is a facet of a hobby called urban exploring based around photography... I personally have been in tunnels that are big enough to drive a semi truck through and seen rooms that would fit close to 50 people... Rule number one of draining if it's going to rain stay the hell out of the drain. Remember that it might save your life. Oh yeah, about the rattlesnake, you can tell how old it is by counting each scale on the tail. Each little rattle scale represents one shed which happens roughly once a year... Keep up the exploring. -nomadbynature

    1 reply

    Rattle snakes actually may lose or gain 2 or 3 segments a year, so that is not a reliable way to tell their age

    "The system" and "large man with dog" sounds like the book tunnels to me. Hymph

    I love doing this :))))

    This is a great, in depth showing of your exploration and very interesting - wish we had areas like it in the UK where I live, but sadly no - I am real nosy and love poking around.
    Want to see your future discoveries.


    Nice! Great attention to mapping and documentation! Did someone tell you how to do this or was it all done on your own? Because this is a pretty pro exploration.

    The snake was probably killed by an animal.

    Don't worry about seeing a pot leaf on the wall, potheads are the least of your worries. I would worry about the homeless or tweakers.

    NEVER carry a knife as self defense unless you have been trained in it's use. Anyone who would be violent underground is not someone you are in any way experienced to deal with. If you see someone, say "Peace!" to them and ask if you should leave. If they say yeah, you should leave damn quick. If it's a hobo, give him a 5th of Jack Daniel's and he won't give a damn what you do, has worked on multiple occasions.

    Any questions? I have tons of info.

    3 replies

    Well, thanks. This was 100% our idea. Theres no animal that would mess with the snake within a half mile, and we were less than 20 feet from someones house, so it was probably them. Im not really worried about the pot leaf... and the people inside arent hobos. If there was anyone in there, they were dealers and your right, the knife wouldnt do much. It was more of a "last ditch effort" or "extreme scenario" kinda thing.

    Yeah. I wouldn't worry about anyone who smokes pot at all really.

    Its not the smokers that Im worried about (I know quite a few) its the dealers. And even with them weve always been able to just turn around.

    maybe also add that anyone trying this should first look at the weather forcast. When I was little I also loved to explore tunnels like this. I doubt I could fit them now:(. Unfortunately I wasn't so clever back then, and while we were in there it started raining, thinking we would be safe in there and not get wet because we were 'inside'. But the water quickly rose above our knees and we almost had to swim the way out.
    Funny story now, terrifying then.

    1 reply

    That is a great idea. We have never been in there during a storm, but if we had been (specefically in the narrow pipes during the last 1/4 of the system) it wold have turned out horribly.