Engineering failures often result into some of the most disastrous events around the world. Technical failures can usually be attributed to poor design and appalling engineering judgments. Or sometimes, engineered things become frail due to old age and unmaintained conditions. Just like this CCTV recording from a neighborhood in Kyiv, Ukraine, where an underground water pipe explosion destroyed cars and nearby houses.
Looking utterly surreal, the eruption began with a brewed up bubble trying to seep out of the ground. If you imagine a 1980’s sci-fi movie, this scene looks as if a giant worm is bursting out underneath the Earth to wreak havoc on the world. But the reality is slightly simpler than that. The vintage subterranean water pipes, installed in 1979, underwent hydraulic testing with extreme pressures applied on the infrastructure, resulting in an epic explosion. The sudden burst was described as a “mushroom asphalt” eruption, which is naturally a serene phenomenon, but in this instance the effect was disastrous. Around 6-storey high of pressurized muddy water showered down the neighborhood shooting earth debris into powerful trajectories. So, what can we all learn from this unfortunate event? Well, on the side of the hydrologists, maybe take it easy on the pressure the next time a 3-decade old water pipe is subjected to hydraulic testing. And for the non-engineering spectators, be a bit more forgiving on engineers as it’s not that easy to accurately prophesy technical failures. Sometimes it would just explode in your face unexpectedly.
The authorities in Kyiv promised to pay compensation to the affected residents to account for damages and loss brought by the underground water pipe explosion.