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Sewer Outfall for Summer Camp - 1
South Pole Station - Antarctica

Sewer Outfall for Summer Camp. This is an older method for disposing of sewage, though similar to the new method. The chief difference is that the old method makes use of holes bored specifically for the purpose, whereas the new method uses the old Rodwell (the water source) once it is no longer producing water. Both methods consist of dumping raw sewage into a big hole in the ice. (yes there are big holes full of frozen s**t at the south pole!)

The pipes here are insulated, with a conduit running next to the pipe under the insulation. Within the conduit, "heat trace" is run. Heat trace is a special material that conducts electricity well enough to keep it warm, but then stops conducting so well when it becomes warm, thus maintaining a fairly constant temperature, which has two wires inside it so that the whole is connected to a power supply and keeps pipes or other material warm. I have also seen it used on switches in cold areas, that otherwise would crack if someone tried to turn a light on or off. At joints, the heat trace is wrapped around to give extra heat at these points, and each joint is separately insulated by a specialist.

In this installation, the previous line for the sewer outfall has been extended to two new holes drilled in the ice. One is to become active immediately, and valves are left in place so that when the first hole is filled up, the valve can be turned and the flow can immediately begin going to the second hole. The pipes themselves will be simply buried in the ice, but the valves and outfalls will have protective wooden "dog houses" that will be built around them before the whole thing is buried, so that maintenance access can be had through a trapdoor and a ladder from the surface. There will also be risers for venting, and these will require heat trace as well.

Heat trace is problematic, in that, like the filaments in light bulbs, it doesn't last forever and routinely has to be replaced. These sewer outfalls are for Summer Camp only. The main station now uses the old Rodwells for sewer outfalls, all of which is connected through the ice tunnels. The Head Module (bathrooms) in Summer Camp are now supplied with water from the Rodwells, but it was not considered cost effective to connect Summer Camp to that sewage system. Before the development of the Rodwells in the 1990's, water was provided by melting snow in.

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This picture published courtesy of Alan Light - This picture is in the public domain.
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