Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/04/05/bt_green_goo/
BT silent on 'green goo' results
Readers finger giant maggots for mess
There's still no word on the identity of the "mysterious green goo" that has halted repairs to damaged cables in Aldershot for fears that it might be toxic.
A fault was discovered on the cables last week leaving around 420 homes and businesses in the Aldershot area completely cut off without access to phone or broadband.
Work to repair the cables was halted on Friday following the discovery of the unknown green stuff.
BT was due to receive test results yesterday (Tuesday) but has so far declined requests to let us know what scientists discovered.
Thankfully, one Register reader visited the scene last night to find more than half a dozen engineers twiddling their thumbs waiting for the all clear. The fact that these guys were sat around so near to the suspicious substance should at least allay fears that the green goo is linked in any way to the rescreening of the Dr Who episode The Green Death on BBC at the moment which features giant maggots.
Nor do we believe the green stuff in Aldershot was a result of a "student puking down a manhole", as one reader suggested.
We were well impressed with the explanation that "old PVC insulated cables commonly have 'green slime' which forms between the conductor and the insulator" caused by a mixture of "leached plasticisers and a small reaction with the copper conductor". The hints about Fairy Liquid and Swarfega to help lubricate cables were also plausible.
However, our man on the ground has pooh-poohed all of these explanations. In casual conversation with the BT engineers at the scene yesterday evening it seems that they already have a fairly good idea what the green stuff is and were waiting for a second set of results to confirm the initial findings.
The most likely explanation is that the unknown substance is a green dye used to trace water leaks. The damage to the cables appears to be a result of the outer casing being demaged/corroded in some way...and no, giant green maggots aren't thought to be responsible for that.
Anyhow, it still looks like the good people of Aldershot will be without their phones until at least the weekend. El Reg is aware that some people are not happy at being cut off. Not happy at all. ®