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PLUMBING By Greg Dalgetty

on the go A SHIPLOAD OF

W

hen most of us think about toilets and plumbing, houses and commercial buildings spring to mind, but these fixed structures are not the only locations where nature calls, and is served. With planes, trains and boats equipped with washrooms standing at the ready for passengers in need, plumbing can be a mobile experience. And, just like the washrooms in your home, they can get backed up from time to time. Howard Cohen, the owner of Monsieur Drain, a Montrealbased 24-hour drain-clearing service, is no stranger to backed-up toilets and clogged drains. He’s pretty much seen it all throughout his career—but there’s one job in particular that stands out, and not just because it was on the water.

They couldn’t leave port with the drains blocked up, so the guy told me to do whatever I had to do to get it fixed.”

A RACE AGAINST TIME

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When you’re ship out of luck, try giving Howard Cohen a call.

Most plumbers have a set of “interesting job” stories, but Cohen has one that could even get Mechanical Business plumbing columnist Fred Bretzke to cringe. This one took place on a cargo ship, where the sewage was so severely backed up that the waste in the pipes had solidified into a granite-like substance, rendering conventional drain-clearing tools useless. “We went there for just a standard service call to unblock one sink and a shower in one of the cabins,” Cohen recalls. Little did he realize at the time that the job would be much, much more than that. Cohen’s client was a large ship docked at the Old Port of Montreal, but it wasn’t just any large ship. It was a crane ship that had spent decades cruising the St. Lawrence River, hauling cargo on and off other freight ships. “It must have been at least a 100-ton ship,” Cohen says. “The crew on the ship wasn’t big—there were maybe 10 or 12 guys who worked on it—

M e c h a n i c a l

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B u s i n e s s

Mechanical Business May/June 2017  

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