We are having some street work done shortly. That understates it a bit. The entire street in front of our house, and several adjacent streets are going to be torn up, dug down many feet, and the crumbly asphalt replaced with smooth cement that will last long enough for me to have a nice even ride when I wheel myself off to the Nursing Home many years hence. It is by the way an impressive down hill grade so that should be fun.
This kind of demolition of course gives us a once in a generation opportunity to re-do any underground infrastructure. Our house being over a century old you never quite know what you might find down there. But it would not be a bit surprising if it went to Hades six months after you had the chance to fix it less expensively when everything was torn apart anyway.
So we had some "guys" from the utility company stop in.
Here they are, respectively operating and observing a device I call "SewerCam". It is a fiber optic cable that can be fed into the drain pipe while you watch on the video screen. Being naturally interested not only in the prospects of a big expense but also in the nature of things Underground I had to watch over their shoulders.
I guess what you do not want to see is something along the lines of ancient Roman technology. Some houses had their sewer lines made of sections of ceramic pipe that simply snugged together, no tight seal. These tend to crack, shift, get infiltrated by roots....all bad.
Happily our Manor has nice solid cast iron pipes. No breaks, no roots. Should be ok to leave them alone. The next owners or maybe the owners after that can deal with any distant future issues.
SewerCam of course is just an industrial version of a colonoscope. With a range of 100 feet it would be over engineered for any life form short of certain whale species. But it makes a useful frame of reference.
All the houses on the street are having similar investigations. I spoke with my neighbor later in the day:
"So, how did your test turn out?"
"Oh.....ceramic, not good. I am so sorry to hear that. Well, at least things were detected in time."
"We will be thinking of you on the day of the Big Operation....."