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July 24, 2012

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'Dirty' job keeps residents dry

AS one of the only 167 licensed frogmen to clean drainage pipes in the city, Huang Xinman has been working in the industry for five years.

The working condition is tough.

Inside the dark and stinky pipe. Huang needs to wear a 25-kilogram diving suit. He has only the headlight on his helmet as the source of light when he works in the pipe.

In the 50-meter drainage pipe on Quanzhou Road, Huang has worked for two consecutive nights.

"After you worked four to five hours, you'll find yourself having moved only about 20 meters," Huang said. "You can't turn around, and must take a break every half an hour."

Thanks to Huang, his colleagues and many others, Shanghai's drainage system has been improving over the years with monitoring and maintenance. The total length of the city's drainage pipes is about 23,000 kilometers.

Before every flood season, pipes in potential flood areas must be checked. Shanghai's drainage system can handle rainfall of up to 36 millimeters per hour. In some key areas, capacity is 55 millimeters per hour, according to the Shanghai Water Authority.


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