Saturday, June 16, 2012

What's under the footpath

What's under the footpath?
Don in 1973 working at Mojo Creek NSW on an underground petrol tank
A post from Andrew reminded me of something Don told me many years ago when we were walking down Horton Street in Port Macquarie (NSW) and I noticed a small round metal thing in the concrete. He said  that I'd be surprised at what's under the footpath...a few years before Don had his accident he used to work installing underground petrol tanks for garages and removing them when the garage closed down as so many did... Many streets would have places where there was a garage and then it closed down and was built upon. The area cemented over. Don said in the early days up till about 1975 they used to rip the top of the big tanks off with a backhoe (risky in case of sparks because even an empty tank has petrol fumes ) then they were told to fill them with water and cover them up with soil and re cement...later the rule was to fill them with compacted sand - what happens with the water filled ones is that in time they will rust and the water seep out leaving an empty space underground. may not have happened yet but it will eventually - the tanks will collapse one day. He over the years pointed out places where he knew tanks were under the footpath filled with water - in front of book shops and cafes etc...the Oil companies were very powerful and took time to force them to certain standards...might actually post this as sometimes when you walk along a cemented street you will still see the small round metal plate which was the access point to refilling the tank - other things look like it these days but Don could always pick them...thought it might interest you now you'll be looking down for little round plates before you sit in an outdoors cafe!

1 comment:

Ann O'Dyne said...

wow that's fascinating. not many people would know that about water-filled tanks disintegrating from rust and the leakage poisoning the water table all around.
There are several shops in the Ballarat CBD built on old garages from the days when pumps were right on the kerb. Thanks MC