Six United Utilies workers based in Hull have gone missing while performing regular sewer maintainence in the city. The contractors, who provide the bulk of Hull Council’s sewerage and water sanitation services in the centre of the city, went into the system on Tuesday morning from a temporary works on Thomas Street, and have not reappeared.
They left behind one worker, Adam Clamper, who was supposed to oversee street-level equipment work, like feeding through hoses and operating the large pumps used to keep Hull’s water supply clean of the truly gargantuan amounts of waste the city presses into them. However, after a few minutes the requests for Clamper to pass down more hose or turn the pump down ceased; and after one day of standing over the manhole waiting for them to pop up, Clamper feared the worst and reported the men missing.
The disappearance has sparked outrage in the city, well known for its Sewer Alligator problem. While the public once again find themselves asking when enough will be enough, Hull City Councilman Richard Astley has declared his intention to being a public awareness campaign called “Don’t Flush A Gator”, in which the public will be warned of the dangers of flushing their pet alligator down the toilet when it becomes too big to deal with. This practice, he says, is one of the primary causes of the sewer alligators that are disrupting the city’s utilities maintenance and driving utility company premiums up.
Steven Irwin, a spokesman for United Utilites, has said “The conditions faced by water industry workers in Hull has become a real thorn in the side of agencies operating there, primarily due to the very high worker insurance premiums, the need for regular recruitment of new contractors, and the unusual requirement of danger pay for the maintenance operatives sent beneath the city. Obviously this doesn’t impact our dedication to providing an excellent service to the people of Hull; our commitment to the customer is as strong as ever, and no amount of eaten sewer workers is going to change that.”
Meanwhile, Councillor Astley, who in August last year employed an expert crocodile hunter to capture a 19-foot-long maneater in the High Street sewerage system, has announced in an open letter to the Hull Herald that he is in talks with the same contractor this year to help prevent the issue spiralling out of control.
“It is very important to prevent any large clutches of eggs from hatching in the sewers – the abundant nutrients available could turn a full colony into quite a problem.” It is also possible, however unlikely, that the feral reptiles have one or more Alpha Matriarch females in the larger tunnels, a development that would result in a surge of crocodilian chaos both above and below ground in the city.
“We are not ignoring the possibility that one or more bus-length Matriarch or Queen-type gators have grown in the larger tunnels, nourished by the sewer workers brought to them by their subservient offspring. If this were the case, the council would seek to outsource the issue to the experts, as we have with the employment of Mr. Dundee this year. The endless, festering swamp that is Hull would be a perfect environment for these predators, and that is not a risk we’re willing to take.”
Councillor Astley did, however, express concern that his contractor, while experienced, was “Still only technically a crocodile hunter.”