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Divers swim 90 ft through raw sewage to unclog 'flushable wipes' mess

CHARLESTON, S.C. (KRON) — Do you know what happens when you flush wipes down the toilet? 

Charleston Water System in South Carolina wants to show you and perhaps prevent you from doing so again. The agency posted a series of photos on social media showing the downright dirty job that crews had to do to get the mess under control. 

The divers had to swim through raw sewage to unclog the pipes blocked by "flushable" wipes, according to officials. 

Officials say they began the attack last Thursday. 

"Since then, we worked 24/7 to get them out," the agency tweeted. "We started by using a series of bypass pumps to handle the normal daily flow."

 

 

The agency said the pumps were back to normal levels after three days, but that's in part due to the divers who had to travel 90 feet down, in the dark, using their bare hands to "find and identify the obstruction."

 

 

"As we expected, they came up with these large masses of wipes in their first two loads, with more to come,” Charleston Water tweeted. “They also found a baseball and a big piece of metal. Don’t flush stuff like this. Joking of course, but you should only flush #1, #2 and toilet paper."

Final dives were conducted on Tuesday and the divers were rinsed off with bleach after the "nice long swim."

“Glad to report that we’ve returned to normal operation today,” the agency tweeted.

 

 

Andy Fairey, the agency’s chief operating officer, told the Charleston Post and Courier that other items like tampons, string, hair and makeup pads contributed to the fatberg of baby wipes, oil, fat and grease.

Fairey said the wipes are a “huge portion of the material we pull out."

Fatbergs are classified as lumps or masses in a sewer system formed by the combination of non-biodegradable solid matter like wipes and oils. 

So before you flush, think twice! 


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